– By Sudhir Katiyar Union organisers placed under restraining order preventing them from undertaking the “provocative activity” of organising workers. Madan Vaishnav, Secretary, Rajasthan Pradesh Int Bhatta Majdoor Union, along with three other union o …

Mandal strike

– By Sudhir Katiyar

Union organisers placed under restraining order preventing them from undertaking the “provocative activity” of organising workers.

Madan Vaishnav, Secretary, Rajasthan Pradesh Int Bhatta Majdoor Union, along with three other union organisers – Shanti Lal Meena, Ratan Lal Bheel, and Shaitan Singh Raigar – was served a notice by the Sub Division Officer Mandal under Section 107/116 restraining him from undertaking “provocative activities” by organising brick kiln workers.

Mandal town has almost 100 brick kilns in its vicinity mostly employing inter-state seasonal migrants from UP and Bihar. The Rajasthan Pradesh Int Bhatta Majdoor Union was registered last year to organise these workers so that they can get minimum wages and other rights. Last year the workers went on a strike for three days demanding higher wages. During the strike the owners attacked a procession of workers. Finally there was a settlement leading to higher wages.

This year, the union has given a call for a public meeting on 25 January. It is currently meeting workers who live at the brick kilns. This year the employers erected large brick walls around their kilns virtually imprisoning the workers. On 18 January, when the union team went to a brick kiln to meet the workers, the brick kiln owner got very upset. He collected a large number of employers who then went to the police station at Mandal and lodged a complaint making allegations that the union is instigating the workers.

Tukhuguda Village of Maheshwaram Mandal - living acccomodation of workers on site

Tukhuguda Village of Maheshwaram Mandal – living acccomodation of workers on site

The police registered a case under section 107 and 116 restraining the union activists from doing any unlawful activity. The owners also gave a memorandum to the local magistrate saying that permission should not be given for holding the meeting on  the 25th. The union also gave a memorandum to the police and district authorities seeking protection during the meeting.

Overall the situation remains tense. The brick kiln owners want to make sure that the public meeting does not succeed. They are likely to adopt all possible measures. The probability of violence against union team also looms large.


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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