They are really dodging implementing the new minimum wage scale.
What are they saying?
(Some 15-20 people had gathered)
They say there's a stay from the courts.
It's always like this. They always start with a lie. Then they will say, we'll do it when everyone else does it. Then they'll say they are going to have to close the factory and relocate to where the minimum is lower.
My suggestion is that the scale should be made the same across the capital region. Then the poor fellows won't have to dance about relocating so much.
(Some 30-35 people had gathered)
I say, let us all take a three day holiday.
A break. Feast, roam, gather, meet. Take a walk on the streets with your family. And when night falls, play drums, sing, dance. Do this, and you'll have the new scale in three days.
(Sounds of laughter and agreement filled the slowly growing gathering)
What an amazing scenario. 500,000 of us, with our families, shutting the industrial area down for a holiday, celebrating and enjoying ourselves.
That's bound to frighten the management.
This does happen now and then, but with 500,000 families, you've changed the playing field.
Millions awake at night, in song and dance.
(The gathering grew)
It's not like last time companies implemented the new grade on their own.
In our block, we stopped work in five factories, and only then was it implemented.
This happened in many factories.
Listen, I've been working for thirty years. Nothing is given to you; everything has to be taken. Let's talk about how.
Let me recount something.
Really? From how long ago?
Not from that long ago, sister. Just two years ago. 2015. You all probably remember. The month was February. Woollens had given way to lighter clothes. Faces were shining. Spring was in the air.
Are you recounting or imagining?
Both, my friend. A little memory, a little fable. The milieu was radiant. In the beginning, it was five hours long. What energy! Managers and directors fled from factories. Security and police stayed distracted by the spring air.
We remember. That is the milieu we grew up in. The aggression of managers and supervisors receded. We'd just entered the life of work, and were told these moments are special.
My young friend, prepare. These milieus are made. They also break. And they have to be made again. And then again.
Do pay attention to what I am saying -- production targets and intensity are continuously raised. That's management. No one exploits oneself wilfully. No one uses ones own intelligence for heightening self-exploitation. So the aggressive language. And so the milieu has to be made and remade.
(The gathering, by now of 50-60, brewed with excitement and thoughtfulness)
I'm going to take this conversation to the night bus.
Night bus! What bus do you take?
We all take different buses. Different routes, and different groups. But conversations, songs, stories, debates zigzag and thread through all routes. And these days, because temporary drivers and conductors are on strike, the group in our bus has become quite large. It's major fun.
Standing here I see how a conversation struck between three people can, in a tiny span, catch and spread to 10-15, to 30-40, to 50-60, to hundreds and thousands, to lakhs.
And every story teller, every narrator, every portraitist, every doubter, every opponent, every dissident, and every poet leaves her imprint, thickens, speeds up, slows down, spins, turns, gives new energy to the plot and the scenario. Now that's what I call a milieu.
In moments like this, like this present occasion, we catch a glimpse of such milieus, sense the breath of others, and see poets in every one of us.
There are many poets amongst us.
Faridabad Majdoor Samachar (Faridabad Workers’ News)
Issue # 348
Page 1: There are many poets amongst us
Page 2: Many thoughts amidst conversations in and with transient groups
Page 3: In Myanmar; Commoning; Not to become targets
Page 4: Night bus; Experiences from MESL
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