Published: 28/09/2018
Mondelez worker Milkhi Ram was killed on September 21 while operating a moulding machine in the company’s Baddi, India plant. His death followed a wave of massive workforce reductions accompanied by a “voluntary separation scheme” initiated by Mondelez India management, which workers were pressured into accepting. The severe understaffing levels that had Ram working alone at the time of the accident are believed to have contributed to the unsafe conditions in which he was killed. Prior to the workforce reductions, Ram had been working as part of a four person team. He had requested staffing support prior to his death, but his request was denied.

The job destruction at Baddi, India is part of a much larger problem at Mondelez. The company’s drive for immediate and unsustainable profits has resulted in the elimination of some 16,000 jobs globally since 2015 and this in turn has increased the health and safety risks for the remaining employees.

Although there is a safety committee at the site, as required by law, it was not meeting regularly and was not functioning. The union at Mondelez Baddi reports that several recommendations made in the safety committee to improve safety were also not implemented.

As soon as Ram’s death was discovered, workers stopped work and protested in front of the Baddi factory denouncing the company’s drive for profit at the expense of safety and workers’ lives. The work stoppage continued from Ram’s death on September 21 to September 27. Management issued a notice declaring the work stoppage illegal and described the refusal to work in unsafe conditions as an illegal strike. 

Milkhi Ram (35) leaves behind his wife, two children and his parents.