Claiming that the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) have brought a ‘special tempo’to the preparations for the January 8 strike called by 10 trade unions belonging to the Opposition camp, the joint platform is expecting participation of at least 30 crore people from various sectors. Leaders of various trade unions told BusinessLine that they expect the support of Opposition political parties too for the strike, which is just a week away.
Meanwhile, according to trade union sources, the Union Labour Minister, Santosh Gangwar has invited the union leaders who have announced the strike for a discussion on Thursday.
CITU General Secretary Tapan Sen said even the foreign media reported that the January strike got the support of about 20 crore workers. “This is going to be a very big strike, much bigger than last year’s strike in terms of participation. Thanks to the Centre’s anti-people measures such as the CAA, the people’s protests have brought a special tempo to our preparations. Apart from industrial workers, workers from unorganised sectors, agriculture, and farmers and youth have pledged support for the strike,” Sen said. He added that TUs have served strike notices at thousands of factories and workplaces before December 23.
A National Open Mass Convention of workers organised by the ten Central Trade Unions — INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC — independent federations, unions and associations of various sectors have called for a nationwide general strike on January 8 against the “anti-worker, anti-people, anti-national policies” of the Narendra Modi government.
The Trade Unions have been demanding a national minimum wage of ₹21,000 per month, pension for all, scrapping of national pension scheme (NPS) and restoration of the old pension scheme, control on price rise of essential commodities, universal public distribution system, generation of new jobs, filling up of sanctioned posts, regularisation of scheme and contract workers, equal-pay-for-equal-work, strengthening of welfare boards for unorganised sector workers, increased budgetary provision for MNREGA and agriculture, scrapping of codification of labour laws, stopping fixed term employment and privatisation of PSUs, allowing 100 per cent FDI in Railways, defence, coal and other sectors and bank mergers. They have been claiming that such measures will lead to massive redundancies and extreme exploitation of workers.
“What we have been saying came true in 2019. More than one-crore people have lost jobs in 2019 alone due to the policies of Modi government and the ongoing slowdown in economy,” said INTUC president G Sanjeeva Reddy.
Economic issues only
Reddy added that the strike is not political but purely on economic issues and for welfare of the workers. “All political parties will have to support our cause. This government’s policies have remained anti-worker since the beginning. They are not interested in public sector and they are all for private establishments,” he added.
The Trade Unions had recently urged the Centre to repeal CAA. “The central Trade Unions anxiously observe that the BJP Government is creating discrimination which may divide the country and may cause widespread discontent among people irrespective of religion, caste and creed. This is also being used to deviate attention from the present crisis and to create a divide among the unified protest of the working people against the anti-people policies of the BJP government. The Central Trade Unions demand of the Government to repeal CAA, not to proceed with NRC and stop police atrocity on the protesters,” the statement said.