by Ms. R. Sawant, an IT worker
Tata Nano plant workers protesting at Sanand, Gujarat for recognition of their union
When I shared the news of the privatisation of Air India with my friends, some of them said, ‘at least he is a good capitalist’! A few years ago, another friend who had witnessed the exploitation of workers in Tata’s coal mines exclaimed, ‘I never thought Tata would do this’. The belief that Tata is a good capitalist is one that has been constructed deliberately by the mainstream media, which is owned by capitalists! But the truth is that Tata is like any other capitalist.
The sale of Air India provides enough evidence: Tata will pay only Rs. 2,700 crores for Air India assets that are worth more than Rs. 50,000 crores. Further, the contract of sale requires Tata to retain the present Air India workers for only one year. This means that the Tata management will be free to fire workers next year and employ workers on a contract basis to get more work done for lower wages. This information shocked many of my friends. Workers are forced to live with low wages, job insecurity and overexploitation in all capitalist enterprises, including those of Tata. In fact, workers across the world have struggled against Tata’s anti-worker policies for years.
It is clear that the interests of all capitalists are against workers’ welfare, and there is no exception. That is why, we must break the myth of good capitalist–bad capitalist. The sale of Air India, like the planned sale of other public assets, is not for the benefit of the country but for the profit of a handful of capitalists. We must use the platform of this forum to counter mainstream media’s false propaganda and encourage more consumers to participate in and strengthen the anti-privatisation struggle.
Contract workers protesting at Tata Steel plant at Jamshedpur