US auto workers express solidarity with Maruti, Hyundai staff

The United Auto Workers (UAW) headquartered in the US has expressed its support to workers at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) and demanded that the two companies reinstate all terminated employees.

The UAW, comprising the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, has written to Shinzo Nakanishi, CEO at Maruti Suzuki, and to Bo Shin Seo, CEO at HMIL. According to a UAW statement, they have demanded that both companies end anti-union practices, reinstate workers terminated for union activity, and recognise the rights of the Hyundai Motor India Employees Union (HMIEU) and Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU) members.

Bob King, president UAW, in his letter to Nakanishi dated Nov 21 expressed shock and serious concern with recent actions of the company and termed them repressive of  labour's fundamental rights at Manesar car assembly plant.

"The international labour and human rights community calls upon the Company and the State of Haryana to immediately recognize the democratically-elected Maruti Suzuki Workers' Union (MSWU) and engage in collective bargaining..," he wrote.

"UAW further calls upon the Company to immediately reinstate all terminated workers and on the State of Haryana to withdraw all false charges against workers and to release all of the 149 workers imprisoned following the July 18, 2012, incident at the plant," King said.

King also demanded that HMIL's CEO Seo reinstate 27 workers fired by the company in 2008 and recognise Hyundai Motor India Employees' Union (HMIEU) or "hold a fair secret ballot election to decide the majority union, or to renegotiate the illegitimate wage agreement reached with the UUHE (United Union of Hyundai Employees)".
While UAW has written to the two Asia-based auto companies, it has not written any letter to the Indian subsidiary of the American auto major Ford Motor Company (FMC), which is also facing a similar labour issue.

According to a union official at Ford India Employees Union (FIEU), the UAW officials are in talks with FMC to sort out the labour problem at its subsidiary Ford India Pvt Ltd.
King also wrote to MSWU and HMIEU expressing UAW's solidarity with them.

According to UAW's website, the union has more than 390,000 active members and more than 600,000 retired members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

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