The entire trade union movement in the country have jointly given a call for two days countrywide general strike on 8-9 January 2019 against anti-labour, anti-people and anti-national policies of BJP-led NDA Government, from the National Convention of Workers held on 28th September 2018 at New Delhi.
The Ten Central Trade Unions, Independent Federations and Associations of various sectors have been consistently fighting against the policies of BJP-led NDA Government with two successful general strikes, one on 2nd September 2015, and then on 2nd September 2016. After that a three day Mahapadav on 9-10-11 November 2017 at Parliament was held with massive mobilisation of workers, followed by general strike by almost 80 lakhs of Anganwadi-Asha-Mid Day Meal Workers & other scheme workers on 17th January, 2018 for regularization and implementation of unanimous recommendations of 45thIndian Labour Conference to give them “Worker” status and social security, as well as satyagraha protest actions in January and February 2018 all over country were organised jointly by the unions in districts and state capitals. Besides these, in between, big agitations by sectoral unions at national and state level and the agitations by various sectors have been organised throughout this period.
The Central Government failed to respond, refused any dialogue, undermined tripartism, did not hold Indian Labour Conference for the last more than three and half years and instead, continued its aggressive attack with arrogance on the lives and livelihood of the working people. Desperate attempts are being made to make gross pro-employer changes in labour laws, both piecemeal and also hastening the codification of 44 central laws into four, totally ignoring the viewpoints of trade unions. An attempt is being made to usurp funds accumulated in various welfare boards, in the name of providing “universal Social Security”. Unilaterally and through arbitrary notification on fixed term employment through executive order on the one hand and through gradual replacement of workers by apprentices in various establishments on the other, the very concept of regular employment and job security is being sought to be wiped out from the workplaces. Now the cabinet has come out with amendments into the Trade Union Act, 1926 which are irrational, highly discretionary and extremely damaging to the independent functioning of unions. It is designed with the dubious intention to cripple unions, to promote pocket unions or tout unions.
At the same time, the Govt policy of mass privatization of strategic PSUs, crucial infrastructure and public utilities, specially targeting the ports, airports, telecom, financial sector etc, with defense production and railways thrown open for 100% FDI, is aimed at loot of the national assets and resources on the one hand and destruction of country’s economic base on the other.
In this background the preparations of strike are receiving support from all sections of the society. The unions in Banks, Insurances, and Coal and non-Coal mines, Petroleum, Post, Telecom, Engineering, Manufacturing, Steel, Defense, Health, Education, Water managements & projects, those in Power/Electricity, Road Transport, the Central & State Government employees and Auto-Taxi unions etc and so on have served required notices of strike at their union levels to the appropriate authorities. The unions in the unorganized sector are well in preparations for massive strike action along with rastaroko, rail roko type of agitations through massive mobilizations. Railway unions have expressed their support and would organise solidarity actions.
The unions and associations of agricultural workers, plantation workers, scheme workers, construction, beedi, vendors-hawkers, hamalies/loaders-unloaders, and others are mobilizing for show of strength on streets during two strike-days.
Modi Government, in the last three months, since we declared our decision of two days general strike from the National Convention of workers on 28th September 2018, has increased its pace of attacks on workers instead of dialogue with unions. With every passing day, the Government is coming forward with more of aggressive policies to ruthlessly cripple public sector undertakings and to safeguard the loot by the corporate houses through provisions of IBC Act and various other measures to the detriment to economy.
The farming communities through their associations have also extended support to the strike as the Government has failed to address their issues as well. The organisations of students and teachers of various universities have declared their support.
With the wider support emerging than ever before, the workers and their unions are in upbeat mood to make this 2-day strike historic, in order to defend the country’s economy and also defend their rights and to hit back at the Government which is being caught in the web of biggest scam of Rafale deal.