On the first day of the trial of seven trade union leaders of LRSU, the union of NagaWorld hotel and casino workers, the presiding judge in the municipal court focused on the union’s decision to take strike action. The judge and prosecutor attempted to implicate the trade union leaders in an illegal strike, ignoring the fact that LRSU members voted unanimously for strike action in a secret ballot. The judge and prosecutor also ignored the fact that LRSU gave management an additional month to resolve the dispute before taking the strike action mandated by union members.
On December 31, 2021, we wrote:
Deeply frustrated and dismayed by the repeated refusal of NagaWorld management to engage in good faith negotiations over the forced mass redundancy of over 1,300 workers that left many destitute and in poverty, union members overwhelmingly voted in favour of strike action in early November 2021. The union, LRSU, issued a notice of strike on November 22, 2021, entitled “Notice of peaceful strike in front of Naga World from December 18, 2021 until a solution is found”. In the four weeks that followed, NagaWorld management did nothing to try to find that solution.
As the judge and prosecutor desperately try to portray the strike as illegal, they threaten the fundamental basis of the right to freedom of association and the right to strike. Hundreds of trade union members and supporters wore campaign t-shirts to protest this attack on trade union rights. The t-shirts read “Unions on Trial” and “Workers’ Human Rights on Trial”.
The next hearing is on February 28, 2023.