The one day strike of the central government employees on 19th September 1968 on the demand of need based minimum wage was historic and is remembered by the workers as a turning point in the movement of the CG Employees. The strike focused on the major demand of need based minimum wage for all workers. Brutal victimisation was imposed on lakhs of workers. Thousands were arrested, jailed, dismissed, terminated and imposed with maximum punishments. Their only ‘crime’ was that they demanded justice to the low paid employees. Their crime was that they stood up and fought against the anti-worker policy of the government against all odds, the military, the police, the black laws and the insensitive government. They faced all attacks, well realising that they are fighting for the generations of workers against the injustice heaped on them. They were ordinary workers, but their actions were almost superhuman. The unions were de-recognised and most of the office-bearers were transferred to distant places. Fake unions were recognised in many departments under the patronage of the then ruling party, Congress. The victimisation in the P and T was the maximum. The government thought that they have broken the workers and their unions. But they were mistaken.
The three year period till all the workers were taken back,was a saga of sacrifice and struggle. Almost every day, the workers demonstrated or organised agitational programmes. Collections were made and paid to the dismissed and terminated employees as their wages. The entire trade unions supported and expressed their solidarity to the fighting workers. Lawyers argued the cases in the court free of charge.
The continued fight of the workers for about three years compelled the government to take back almost every body, but the scar of the punishment continued. The workers and leaders suffered heavily, but they took it as awards for their fights for the fully justified demands. The government was compelled to restore recognition to the unions and reinstate all terminated/dismissed employees, expect a few top leaders.
The Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers has now called to organise various programmes in memory of the great struggle, throughout one year from 19th September 2017 to 19th September 2018, the 50th year of the great struggle.Many of those who participated in the glorious struggle have passed away, but their memory will always inspire us to march ahead with more courage and conviction.
A similar situation is developing under the present Modi Government. Government has refused to grant the minimum wage of Rs. 26,000 to CG employees. It has reduced the HRA. Trade Union rights achieved through sustained struggles are being snatched away. There is no recruitment and exploitation of the workers is increasing. They are thrown at the mercy of the management and the employer. PSUs are being privatised one after another. The secular fabric of the country is being torn to pieces. It is reassuring that the trade unions, mass organisations and the democratic forces are coming to fight together against these brutal attacks.
Participate in these programmes and pass over the message to all the workers. On this day, we salute all those martyrs of the 1968 strike! We assure you comrades, that your struggle is not in vain. We will continue the struggle with all our efforts.