Workers in Foxconn India struggle for better wages and union rights


Foxconn India workers in Chennai are struggling for union rights, better wages and reinstatement of 23 union members.

INDIA: Foxconn India management's defiance to recognise the demands of the Foxconn India Thozhilalar Sangam (FITS) union affiliated to the Centre of India Trade Unions (CITU), on wages and reinstatement of 23 workers, caused workers to commence an industrial struggle on September 22, 2010.

On September 8, FITS, claiming membership of around 1,500 workers out of the 1,800 total of regular workers, gave notice to strike to Foxconn India management demanding wage negotiations. However, the management entered in to an agreement with Foxconn India Thozhilalar Munnetra Sangam (FITMS), a union affiliated to LPF workers wing of ruling DMK party.

From the early hours of September 22, 2010, FITS commenced its "sit-in" strike, around 1,500 workers participated and half of them are women workers. Around 6,000 contract workers and trainees were also not allowed to work by the strikers. In the evening of the same day workers called off the strike as the Foxconn India management promised to discuss with the FITS union in the presence of District Labour Commissioner on September 27, 2010.

However, on September 23, Foxconn India informed the workers that it already entered in to a memorandum of understanding with the FITMS union, hence no negotiations with FITS and announced the imposition of eight days wage cut for workers who participated in the strike.

Protesting against the management action, FITS resumed the sit-in strike on  September 24. The management used police to arrest 1,500 workers and suspended 23 activists.

Consistent pressure by the union forced the Foxconn India management to come to negotiation table with the FITS union on September 27.  However, management's refusal to consider FITS's demands has resulted in the union continuing its struggle.

The major demands of the union include:

  • CITU union is demanding basic pay of Rs10,000 (US$221 approx) for the regular workers. Currently a regular worker with four years of experience receive only Rs4800 (US$106 - approx) on CTC basis.
  • Reinstatement of 23 workers.