With the country gearing up for the general strike on November 26, called for by a joint platform of central trade unions, workers from Kerala are preparing to ensure that the strike is a successful one.
The All India Kisan Sangarsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has also called for a protest on November 26 and 27. Workers and farmers in the state have been holding protest marches and demonstrations across the state ahead of the nationwide strike and protests.
After participating in campaigns on the ground, workers from all sections of society took out a torchlight march at their respective workplaces on Wednesday evening. On Tuesday, unorganised sector employees demonstrated at their workplaces.
Along with the ten central trade unions, 13 more trade unions from Kerala are also part of the general strike. The striking workers are demanding a roll-back of the new labour codes, while the farmers are demanding scrapping of the three new Farm Laws passed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led central government. The plight of workers, farmers and common people will also be highlighted during the national strike and protest.
“About 15 crore migrant workers have lost their jobs and income due to the COVID-19 lockdown. The central trade unions have been demanding that the Centre gives financial assistance of Rs 7,500 per month for each worker who has lost their income. Along with this, small and medium sector employees are also in distress,” Elamaram Kareem, state secretary of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and Rajya Sabha member, said in a press conference on Monday.
Other than national and state trade unions, several independent sectoral federations and associations have extended their support to the general strike and to the farmers march in Delhi on November 27.
Workers demonstrated and took out declaratory marches across Kerala, urging the public to make the strike a successful one. Such marches were led by workers and sector-wise unions.
On Tuesday, various union and associations had demonstrated at their respective offices across the state. Unions and associations from the banking industry, PSUs, Insurance Sector and the automobile sector along with those from other industries were also part of the protests.
Protest demonstrations also happened at LIC offices across the state. With the Centre aggressively privatising public sector units across the country, the LIC has also been included in the list. On Tuesday, the LIC agents association took part in the protest, raising their voice against the privatisation of LIC along with other PSUs.
Protest by LIC Agents Association
“Farmers and workers have been protesting across the country raising various issues. The Central Government, however, has been trying to dismantle such protests inciting polarisation on communal grounds. But, such misdirection won’t work. The workers and farmers across the country will hit the streets on Thursday against the anti-worker and anti-farmer policies of the Centre,” said Kareem, amid reports of various governments trying to repress the November 26 strike.
Farmers in the state, under the banner of Samyuktha Karshaka Samithi, which is the part of the AIKSCC, are active in the ongoing protests and preparations for a national strike. Kerala Karshaka Samithi consists of various farmers organisations, including the Kerala Karshaka Sangham (Kerala chapter of the All India Kisan Sabha), Karshaka Congress, Kerala State Karshaka Thozhilali Union (KSKTU), a body of agricultural workers, will also be a part of these protests.
The farmers and agricultural workers will be part of demonstrations by trade unions on November 26. On November 27, the unions and organisations of farmers and agricultural workers will march to the Parliament in Delhi.