Kerala: Farmers, Workers and Agri-Labourers Meet 1 Crore People to Explain Demands
CITU-AIKS-AIAWU held rallies and dharnas at central government offices
Kerala workers, farmers and agricultural labourers are holding padayatra, vehicle jathas and pamphlet distribution before the April 5 parliament march. Around 2000, such campaigns were held to meet one crore people to expose the anti-worker, anti-farmer policies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led union government.
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Kerala Karshaka Sangham (affiliated to AIKS), and Kerala Samsthana Karshaka Thozhilali Union, affiliated to AIl India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU), are holding joint programs to highlight their demands and the policies being pursued by the union government.
Besides the joint action program of the three unions, the federations affiliated with CITU are also holding protest marches and dharnas at central government offices.
The significant demands of the Kisan Sangharsh Rally include a minimum wage of Rs 26,000, a pension of Rs 10,000 to workers including the scheme workers, fair and remunerative prices for agricultural produces, a daily wage of Rs 600 per day through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme and one-time loan waiver for farmers and agricultural labourers.
'LABOUR CODES WILL DESTROY RIGHTS OF WORKERS'
The CITU stressed the withdrawal of the four labour codes and instated labour laws. The demands of CITU include assurance of minimum wages and pensions, restoration of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS), stopping the sale of public sector undertakings and withdrawal of the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP).
Anganwadi workers and helpers federation took out rallies and held dharnas in front of central government offices (Courtesy: CITU Kerala)
Speaking to NewsClick, K N Gopinath, state secretary of the CITU Kerala state committee, said, "A joint convention of the three unions was held as soon as the call for the parliament march was given on September 5, 2022. We decided to convene panchayat and town-level conventions to bring forward the agenda of the Kisan Sangharsh Rally to ensure the message reached every corner of the state.”
The declaration made by the national convention was distributed during the programs organised in the state. The campaigns included house visits, foot marches, vehicle jathas, posters and social media campaigns.
Around 100 general body meetings and gate meetings were held in industrial hubs and factories across the state to address the workers about the rally's demands.
"So far, 2,200 campaign programs have been completed across the state. We will be holding a candlelight March on April 4 in all villages, the day before the rally to the parliament," Gopinath said.
'PROMISES MADE DURING FARMERS PROTEST UNFULFILLED'
The primary allegation of the AIKS on the BJP government is the non-fulfilment of the promises made during the withdrawal of the historic farmers' protest.
"The demands, including ensuring MSP for produce, withdrawal of cases against farmers and action against the Lakhimpur Kheri murder case, are still pending. The union government has not taken a step forward in the key demands of the farmers,” Valsan Panoli, general secretary of the Kerala Karshaka Sangham, told NewsClick.
Footmarches were carried out at the grassroots level as part of the campaign towards the Kisan Sangharsh Rally.
The BJP, during the 2014 election campaign, has promised to implement the M S Swaminathan Commission recommendation on MSP for agricultural produce. The AIKS has slammed the BJP-led government for betraying the farmers.
"The three unions have held joint campaigns across local bodies across the state to highlight the policies affecting the farmers and other workers. Thousands of farmers from Kerala will join the Kisan Sangharsh Rally on April 5,” Panoli said.
The campaigns include vehicle jathas and foot marches, covering every local body in the state, aiming to meet one crore of people.
"We also explained the need to increase the daily wage for workers through the MGNREGA scheme to Rs 600. A one-time loan waiver for farmers and agricultural workers is also an important demand,” N Chandran, the general secretary of KSKTU, told NewsClick.
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