Patna: A day ahead of the all-India strike on January 8, workers, farm labourers , non-gazetted officials, electricity employees, bank officials among others are fully geared up to make it a success in Bihar. The strike has been called by 10 central trade unions, except the Rashtriya Swayamsevak-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, supported by several independent federations, the Left parties, student organisations and others.
On Tuesday, trade unions in the state conducted last round street meetings (nukkad sabhas) and door-to-door campaign to reach out to as many workers, farm labourers, government and bank employees as possible to mobilise for the strike in urban as well as in rural areas.
“Bihar will witness a complete workers’ strike this time against the Narendra Modi government’s anti-worker policies, increasing joblessness, growing inflation and privatisation of public sector units, Ganesh Shankar Singh, leader of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) said.
Singh said the strike was also against police crackdown against students in different campuses across the country in recent days, as well as police excesses on those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens, especially in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states.
”People in large numbers will join us as they have extended support to workers’ strike”, Singh added.
In the past one week, trade unions and workers’ unions have held a series of meetings at the district and block-level to mobilise support for the strike.
Unlike in other states across India, in the backward state of Bihar, which is devoid of big industries and manufacturing units, the focus of the trade unions is on preparing workers and labourers, mainly from the unorganised sector, such as construction, agriculture and small manufacturing units, as well as thousands of contractual workers engaged by the state government in the health, education and services sectors.
Trade unions in the state, including All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), etc., as well as different federations and associations of workers are participating in the first general strike of 2020.
All India Central Council of Trade Union (AICCTU) leader Ranvijay Kumar said: “Our massive preparations for workers’ strike is in the final stage. We are getting overwhelming support in view of growing anger among workers, farmers, government employees and common people over anti- workers and anti-people policies of the BJP-led Central government”.
Premchand Kumar Sinha, a leader of Bihar Non-Gazetted Employees Federation (Gope Group), said government employees too are expected to join the workers’ strike.
Ashwani Kumar, president of Power Engineering Service Association, Bihar, said that 10,000 electricity employees, including engineers, will join strike. ”Electric engineers and workers will not attend work related to power breakdown, power supply, power generation and repair works to protest against the privatisation move of the government”, he added.
Chakardhar Prasad Singh, a leader of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyut Kamgar Sangh, said workers would boycott work and join strike on Wednesday. In view of this, we have requested state government and power companies to make alternative arrangements.”
Bihar’s Provincial Bank Employees Association leader, Sunjay Tiwary, said all banks would observe the strike. “Eight thousand employees of North and South Bihar Rural Bank will also join strike against the central government’s move to privatise,”the Association’s leader D N Trivedi said.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) Bihar state secretary, Avadhesh Kumar, told NewsClick that thousands of workers, farm labourers, construction labourers, MGNREGA workers, contractual workers, including ASHA (Accredited Social Health Workers), Anganwadi, Mid-Day Meal cooks, led by different trade unions, along with students and youths will gather at Gandhi Maidan in Patna and a protest march would be taken out from there.
Communist Party of India state secretary, Satyanarayan Singh, said hias party had announced its support for the workers' strike and urged its workers to join protest on streets to ensure its success.
Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Sangharsh Samanway Samiti leader, Rajaram Singh, said hundreds of farm labourers and small farmers would take a protest march in support of the strike from Patna Railway Station.
The CPI(M), CPI, CPI (Marxist-Leninist), Socialist Unity Centre of India, Forward Bloc and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) have so far come out in support of the all-India strike.