In what is perhaps the biggest ever coordinated general strike anywhere in the world, an estimated 25 crore (250 million) workers and employees struck work since the midnight of November 26. Industrial and mining belts in many states including Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana Punjab, Assam, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and other states reported complete or partial shutdown. Banks and insurance offices were also closed, while state govt. offices saw employees protesting in support of the strike. Several lakh women Anganwadi workers/helpers, healthcare workers, mid-day meal cooks and those employed in other government run schemes are also reported to on strike in all states. Trucks, buses and other public vehicles were off the road in many states.
In many parts of the country, university teachers, students and professionals came out in solidarity with workers.
Meanwhile, farmers from across the country are preparing to join the workers in protests despite several state governments like those in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh (all ruled by the BJP), have sealed highways and deployed security forces to prevent agitating farmers from reaching Delhi where a massive protest demonstration was planned. Reports indicate that while all eight highways entering the Capital are currently blocked by farmers, thousands may have managed to sneak in and will hold the protest near Parliament on November 26 and 27. Security forces used water canons to disrupt movement of farmers towards Delhi in Ambala and Karnal in Haryana. Large number of farmers are gathered at Delhi-UP border after Delhi police put up multi-layered barricades and refused entry.
Demands of All India General Strike - 26 November 2020
·10kg per person per month food grains to all needy; Urgent measures for containing price-rise through universalisation of public distribution system and banning speculative trade in commodity market
·Cash transfer of Rs.7500 per month for all Non Income Tax paying families
·Expand MGNREGA to provide 200 days’ work in a year in rural areas at enhanced wages; extension of employment guarantee to urban areas. Containing unemployment through concrete measures for employment generation.
·Withdraw all anti farmer laws
·Withdraw the anti worker labour codes
·Universal social security cover for all workers
·Minimum wages of not less than Rs 21,000/- per month with provisions of indexation to all workers including scheme workers
·Assured enhanced pension not less than Rs.10,000/- p.m. for the entire working population. Scrap NPS and restore earlier Pension, improve EPS-95
·Stoppage of disinvestment in Central/State PSUs including the financial sector and stop corporatisation of Govt run manufacturing and service entities like Railways, Ordnance Factories, Ports etc.
·Stoppage of contractorisation in permanent perennial work and payment of same wage and benefits for contract workers as regular workers for same and similar work. No fixed term employment in any sector
·Removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund; increase the quantum of gratuity.
·Withdraw the draconian circular on forced premature retirement of Government & PSU Employees. Withdraw the DA Freeze
·Compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days from the date of submitting application; and immediate ratification of ILO Conventions C 87 and C 98
·Withdraw the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020
·Withdraw the NEP 2020. Allocate 5% GDP for Public Education
·Public Healthcare for all. Allocate 6% GDP on Public Health
[These demands include demands of 12 point charter of demands of CTUs as well as the current demands. In addition demands of various sectors such as construction, beedi, domestic workers etc are there.]
( Live Blog Inputs by Amey from Maharashtra, Shilpa from Kerala, Sagrika from J&K, Ronak, Anand, Ravi and Mukund from Delhi, Kashif from MP, Prudhviraj from Telangana, Alim from UP, Imran from Bihar, Sandipan from Assam and Sandip from West Bengal)