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Hunger Strike, Demonstrations, Arrests Across Country as Trade Unions Observe Nationwide Protest Day

The 10 central trade unions have demanded the withdrawal of change in labour laws, privatisation of PSEs and corporatisation of agriculture.
All India Protest

A nationwide protest, demanding the withdrawal of draconian changes in labour laws, was observed today by several trade unions at the national and state level on the joint call given by 10 central trade unions. The CTUs have also submitted a joint petition to the Prime Minister via email, with their demands, including the withdrawal of total privatisation of public sector enterprises and corporatisation of agriculture.

All India Protest

The petitions were released across the country by participating leaders and activists and sent to the Prime Minister. As part of the protest action on May 22, hunger strikes, demonstrations and processions were organised at several places. A number of participating union leaders also faced arrest, including those protesting at the Raj Ghat in the national capital and in West Bengal. They have not been released yet. In many states including in Noida UP, trade union leaders were arrested the previous day, to suppress the action. In spite of that workers participated in the strike in a massive way. 

All India Protest 1

Following the protest day observation, the CTUs have released a press statement detailing the various actions that were taken up by trade unions across the country. The press release states that while employees from independent federations and associations such as banks, defence, telecom, etc., showed their solidarity by wearing black badges, hunger strike was resorted to in several states and militant programs held in Telangana, Jharkhand and Gujarat. In Maharashtra, industrial workers observed two hours strike, while in Tamill Nadu, around 10,000 places witnessed the participation of over 2 lakh workers.

All India Protest 2

The release added that “there were reports that though the scheme workers- Aanganwadi, ASHA were on their duties of door to door visits for screening and making data etc. related with COVID 19 despite that they could participate in programmes in several parts of the country”.

Workers from various sectors railways, power and electricity, HAL, port., etc. to beedi, plantation, MGNREGA , sanitation workers, scheme workers and domestic workers also participated in the protest. In addition to these, many workers and family members joined the protest from their home.
Among the demands made by the central trade unions is also the demand for relief for workers during the COVID-19 lockdown, social security for workers and other such demands to strengthen labour laws.

The 10 central trade unions include Centre of Indian Trade Unions, All India Trade Union Congress, Indian National Trade Union Congress, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, All India United Trade Union Centre, Trade Union Coordination Committee, All India Central Council of Trade Unions, Self Employed Women’s Association, Labour Progressive Federation and United Trade Union Congress.

Live blog

West Bengal: Tea Workers Stage Protest

Workers in West Bengal’s tea estates too a joint protest action against the estate owners with their sets of demands including relief. The tea workers in the state have been doubly hit by the coronavirus-induced lockdown and the Amphan cyclone.

Tea Garden Workers

Central Trade Unions Write to Prime Minister

Ten central trade unions wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 22 reiterating their set of demands including to stop the “wholesale privatization” of public sector units and government departments.

“Complete lack of sensitivity and co-ordination between the Centre and the States in dealing with this gigantic human problem, which is of your own making, due to abrupt decisions without taking into confidence, Parliament, the state governments, political parties and the people who were key in fighting COVID 19, is glaring,” said the workers’ bodies to PM in the letter.

In the wake of coronavirus-induced lockdown, the central trade unions also demanded immediate relief to stranded workers, withdrawal of budgeted expenditure on ‘New Parliament Project’ and strengthening of law relating to registration of migrant workers.

Tamil Nadu: Railway Workers Maintain Social Distance While Protesting


Punjab: With Covered Faces, Aanganwadi Workers Demand Regularisation

Aanganwadi workers, who are playing crucial role as India battles COVID-19, demand regularisation of their jobsThe women workers in Punjab can be seen as covering their faces and maintaining social distance while taking part in the nationwide protest called by central trade unions.

Aanganwadi workers

Glimpses of Government Workers Protesting Centre’s Privatisation Spree

Government employees, across the country, came together on May 22 to protest against the privatization proposals recently announced by the Centre. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on May 17 had announced privatization of PSUs in non strategic sectors.

“In strategic sectors, at least one enterprise will remain in the public sector, but private sector will also be allowed. In other sectors, PSEs will be privatised (timing to be based on feasibility etc),” she had said.

Govt Workers

Delhi: Front line Workers Demand Protective Gears

Workers engaged in anti malaria drives in the national capital, who are also helping in battling COVID-19, on Friday demanded face masks and sanitizer. The workers, led by Anti Malaria Employees Union, also opposed the onslaught on the workers’ rights by the central government.

Maleria Workers

Uttarakhand: Industrial Workers Protest Against Dilution of Labour Laws

Saying that recent changes made to labour laws will lead to “slavery”, industrial workers in Uttarakhand’s Rudrapur partook in the nationwide protest. The workers, under the banner of Bhagwati Shramik Sangathan, also demanded immediate resolution of the industrial disputes.


Watch: Central Trade Union Leaders Detained in Delhi


Defence Workers Stage Protest Against Corporatisation of Ordnance Board

Workers at 41 units of ordnance factories across the country observed protest against the recently announced proposal to corporatise the factory board. Led by All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF), the workers say this is first step towards eventual privatisation of the defence manufacturer that currently operate under the defence ministry.

Staging Hunger Strike at Rajghat, Delhi Police Detains Union Leaders

Delhi police has detained the leaders of central trade unions who were staging a one day hunger strike at Rajghat in the national capital against the recent changes made by state governemnts to labour laws.

Those who were detained include Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) general secretary and president along with leaders of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), and All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU).

In Photos: BSNL Employees Stage Protest Across India

Employees of Bharatiya Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) protested against the dilution of established norms of day shifts from eight hours to twelve hours. In addition, the employees of state carrier also alleged that the government has been benefiting the private telecom players by not providing 4G services to BSNL.


Glimpses of Protest Staged by Defence Employees Against Corporatisation

Factory defence

Haryana: Electricity Board Workers Stage Protest Against Labour Law Reforms

Workers in electricity department at Ratia district in Haryana staged protest on May 22 against the decision of the state government to bring reforms to labour laws. Haryana is among the states that have extended working hours from established norms of eight hours to twelve hours.


CPI-M Demands Immediate Release of Union Leaders

Siliguri: Police Detains Local Union Leaders

West Bengal police detains local union leaders who led the peaceful demonstrations of tea workers in Siliguri. In the wake of nationwide protest against dilution of labour laws, a joint protest was called at Siliguri SDO office.


Himachal Pradesh: Trade Unions Submit Memorandums to CM

At the call of the joint platform of central trade unions, hundreds of workers in Himachal Pradesh protested against the changes brought in the Factory Act, Contract Labour Act, Industrial Disputes Act, among others.

Memorandums were submitted to Chief Minister through deputy commissioners at the district headquarters in various cities in the state.

Himachal Protest

Ghaziabad: Multiple Areas Witnessed Workers’ Protest

Various places in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district witnessed demonstrations by workers against the decision of Yogi Adityanath – led government to exempt businesses from almost all labour laws for a period of 1000 days.

The workers led by central trade unions, demanded a roll back of the ordinance. While protesting at regions including Sahibabad industrial area, adherence to social distancing norms were seen.


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