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Delhi: Hundreds Join Central Trade Unions’ Call to Observe ‘Quit India’ Day at Jantar Mantar

Leaders of participating unions shared growing concern over mass privatisation and high inflation and the BJP government’s anti-labour policies.
Delhi: Hundreds Join Central Trade Unions’ Call to Observe ‘Quit India’ Day at Jantar Mantar

New Delhi: The platform of Central Trade Unions (CTUs) and independent federations/associations organised a nationwide protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar observing ‘Quit India’ the day the Quit India Movement began on August 9, 1942.

Raising the slogan, “Save the nation, Save the people”, workers from across the country expressed their anger at the policies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government which have led to the rapid rise in inequality, the rising price of essential commodities, unemployment, wage depression, and precarious economic conditions of the people. 

The gathering was addressed by Amarjeet Kaur of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Harbhajan Singh of the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Tapan Sen of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Harish Tyagi of All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Lata Ben of Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Rajeev Dimri of All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Rashid Khan of LPF, and Shatrujit Singh of United Trade Union Congress (UTUC) participated. 

According to the unions, the protest occurred in 700 districts and across 26 state capitals of the country, where thousands of workers participated. 

Amarjeet Kaur called out the current BJP government on the high suicide rates among the working class and the high death rate among children due to malnutrition.  

“Government’s own data shows that daily wage earners have the highest percentage of suicide rate in the last few years. Daily wage earners are finding it difficult to get even 15 days of work, which is the main cause of suicide among the masses,” she said while addressing the protesters. 

Shriram Varma (55) expressed serious concerns about minimum wages and how despite Delhi's firm policy on minimum wage, the workers have not been getting it.

“According to the Delhi government’s law, the minimum wage of semi-skilled workers is Rs18,993. However, if the government wants to see if it’s actually happening, they would see that most factories do not provide its workers more than Rs 8000/monthly,” he said. 

Anurag Saxena, general secretary of CITU, echoed a similar sentiments and said  the new labour code had not yet been implemented but despite that the working conditions had significantly worsened over the past few years.  

“Modiji is celebrating ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ in the celebration of 75 years of Independence, but we are still talking about minimum wages. Suppose things should have progressed in the right direction. In that case, we should have been talking about ‘fair wages’, but the government cannot even provide the ‘minimum wages’ to all the working people, let alone have a conversation around ‘fair wages,” he said. 

Harbhajan Singh from HMS alleged that the BJP government had completely failed on the front of employment. The government had promised to provide two crore jobs each year, but the data on unemployment shows a contrasting picture. 

“Where are the two crore jobs that this government had promised? Its own data shows that the government has failed to provide people with jobs. On top of that, it has been continuously selling the public sector, which has created precarious economic conditions for its employees,” he added. 

Tapan Sen of CITU spoke about the different sectors' struggles against the government’s pro-corporate policies. He pointed out that different struggles had  been going on in different sectors, which showed that the workers were not afraid of putting up a fight against the government’s policies.  

The unions also expressed their deep concern over the unrest in the northeastern state of Manipur, calling the BJP’s ‘double-engine’ government in the state a “complete failure”.  

The unions said the working class would intensify its fight in the coming days.

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