On Wednesday, August 4, sixty-six thousand general insurance employees and officers, in all the four public sector general insurance (PSGI) companies participated in a nationwide strike led by the Joint Forum of Trade Unions in PGSI Companies. The strike took place a day after the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha.
The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha without discussion amid continuing protests by opposition parties on the Pegasus snooping and several other issues.The Joint Forum met on Monday, August 2, and decided to protest against the decision of the Union government to privatise PSGI companies.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Union Budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 had announced the government's decision to privatise two public sector banks and one general insurance company.
Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) released a statement congratulating the employees of the four PSGI companies for their nationwide strike. The statement said, "CITU strongly condemns the Modi government’s stubborn pursuit of its agenda to privatise the entire public sector including in strategic sectors like insurance, banking, defence, railways, mines etc and handing them over to its corporate cronies."
As per the statement of objects and reasons of The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021, it seeks to remove the requirement that the central government should hold not less than 51% of the equity capital in a specified insurer.
All India Insurance Employees’ Association (AIIEA), a union that also participated in the strike on Wednesday, said in a statement, “These measures will therefore enable the government to privatise all the four public sector general insurance companies and the reinsurer GIC Re. The argument of the Finance Minister that it is not privatisation but an effort towards greater private participation sounds somewhat ludicrous."
CITU assured its continued support and solidarity to the employees of PSGI companies in their struggle against privatisation. "While congratulating the workers and employees of various sectors who have supported today’s strike of the General Insurance Employees, CITU calls upon the entire working class to strengthen the struggle against privatisation and loot of the country’s resources and save the country from the destructive policies of the Modi led government," the statement released by CITU said.