The Central Trade Unions — except the pro-government BMS — are expecting that at least 20 crore workers, out of the 56 crore Indian workforce, will participate in the two-day general strike on March 28 and 29. The CTUs have served notices at various factories, offices and organisations that they will strike work on both the days.
A meeting of the CTUs held here on Tuesday reviewed preparations for the strike. The CTUs said in a joint statement on Wednesday that the protest is against “the anti-worker, anti-farmer, anti-people and anti-national policies” of the Centre.
“It was reported that strike preparations are in full swing, with joint state level conventions, sector-wise conventions in public sector as well as corporate sector and the unorganised sectors such as scheme workers, domestic workers, hawkers, beedi workers, construction workers etc. Roadways transport workers and electricity workers have decided to join the strike in spite of the impending threat of ESMA (Essential Services Maintenance Act) in Haryana and Chandigarh. Financial sector, including banking and insurance are joining the strike,” the statement said.
‘Save People, Save Nation’
AITUC General Secretary Amarjeet Kaur told BusinessLine that unions in sectors such as coal, steel, oil, telecom, postal, income tax, copper, banks, insurance have served strike notices.
“In sectors such as coal, we expect workers affiliated with the BMS also to participate in this strike. More than 20 crore workers will strike work with the slogan of ‘Save People, Save Nation’. Workers in railways and defence sectors will hold protest mobilisations at more than 750 points in support of the strike,” Kaur said.
The statement said the decisions to reduce the interest rate on provident fund accumulations to 8.1 per cent from 8.5 per cent and increase the prices of petrol, LPG, kerosene and CNG are a direct attack on workers. The monetisation pipeline is held back because of the worsening condition of inflation and crashing share markets. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha has said that they will observe rural bandh on both days.
The 12-point demand charter includes scrapping of the Labour Codes and the Essential Defence Services Act, accepting the six-point charter of demands of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, stopping privatisation and scrapping the NMP, food and income support of ₹7,500 per month to non-income tax paying households, increased allocation for MNREGA, and extension of employment guarantee scheme to urban areas.
The Opposition Congress also supported the strike.
“The old pension scheme must be restored by linking it to DA. New pension scheme must go as done by Congress governments in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh,” said Congress spokesman Udit Raj.