Hyderabad: Workers’ and peasants’ unions across Telugu states are intensifying their preparatory campaign for upcoming protests demanding roll-back of the new labour laws and scrapping of the three new farm laws brought by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.
The unions will be joining a general strike on November 26 and farmers’ protests on November 26-27.
The two-day protest is going to be historic, say unions. The beedi workers, hamalis, transport workers, industrial workers, public sector employees, health workers, scheme workers, cinema workers, construction workers, ASHAs, agricultural labourers, marginal, small and medium farmers and other working-class people from oppressed sections are all showing enthusiasm to join the protest during the ongoing district and mandal-level campaigns for the strike by various mass organisations in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
On Friday, 10 trade unions have given a representation to the Telangana state election commission appealing it to direct officials to not interrupt their protest as Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) election code is in place. “Workers and peasants unions have been campaigning for the strike for over two months for securing the rights of the workers,” stated the unions while adding that the election commission has allowed such movements during elections in the past.
The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has called the farmers protest after multiple meetings with farmer organisations and series of protests against the farm laws across the country. Besides, the Telangana Rythu Sangam is holding a village-level campaign across districts in the state asking farmers to unite in protest against the farm laws. According to them, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Simplification) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Agricultural Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, will further the corporate interests in the agriculture sector while farmers and consumers will be severely affected.
“Several farmer leaders will join the protest march in Delhi while the state will witness village-level bandh on November 26-27,” said Sagar from Telangana Rythu Samithi, which is affiliated to the All India Kisan Sabha.
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), joined by other trade unions, has been holding rallies across industrial areas appealing workers to join the strike against the “anti-worker” policies of the Modi government and the labour codes.
Telangana Beedi and Cigar Workers Union is holding rallies across several districts calling the female workers in the unorganised sector to participate in the general strike for claiming their rights.
The Hamali workers (loading and unloading workers) in the transport sector are up in arms to join the strike demanding a state-level welfare board for them.
Under the leadership of the All India Coordination Committee of Road Transport Workers Organisations (AICCORTWO), transport workers unions in both states are holding district-level meetings as part of the campaign for the strike.
Construction workers in Andhra Pradesh are protesting for the last ten days demanding the state government to protect their welfare fund. Unions in this sector said they will be joining the strike.
“The Modi government is planning to hand over the public health system to the insurance companies, corporate and private entities in the name of Ayushman Bharat and National Digital Health mission,” said PSS Reddy, President of Andhra Pradesh Medical and Sales Representatives Union. He said that the union will be joining the strike to highlight the health sector crisis in the country during the pandemic. “Crisis is spread across sectors under this government. Hence, the strike by all sections of the working class is taking place,” said Reddy.
Telangana Mid-day Meals Scheme Workers Union and ASHA workers unions in the Telugu states are also participating in the campaign for the strike.
The strike is necessitated as the trade unions, workers and employees of the public sector units across telecom, power, banking and insurance sectors are up in arms against the privatisation spree of the central government.