India’s central trade unions have decided to go on a countrywide indefinite strike. A three-day dharna of lakhs of workers is planned for 9, 10 and 11 November at Parliament Street, which is to be followed by the indefinite General Strike against the anti-labour policies of the NDA government.
The decision was announced today at the National Convention of Workers at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi. The convention was organised by the joint platform of all the central trade unions – CITU, AITUC, INTUC, HMS, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, UTUC and LPF, and the National Federations of State and Central Government employees and the employees in a wide range of sectors such as banking, telecom, coal, steel, transport and construction.
The declaration adopted at the Convention expressed dismay that the government has been completely ignoring the 12 point Charter of Demands put forward by the trade unions. The demands include those concerning minimum wages, social security, workers’ status, pay and facilities for scheme workers, and the roll-back of privatisation and mass-scale contractorisation. Numerous strike actions with the participation of crores of workers have been organised in the recent years on many of these issues. But “the ruling regime at the centre has been increasing onslaught on the rights and livelihood of the working people of the country”, said the declaration.
The Convention noted the worsening of the problem of unemployment in the country as employment generation has turned negative even in the most labour-intensive sectors. The anti-worker labour law reforms and the latest move to dismantle the existing statutory Social Security infrastructure were vehemently criticised.
The trade unions slammed the accelerated moves by the central government to privatise strategic Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) including those engaged in defence production, public sector banks, insurance, railways, oil, power and public road transport.
In a significant call for worker-peasant unity, the Convention expressed solidarity with the farmers in India who have been on an agitational path all across the country.
The Convention denounced the growing trend of communal and divisive machinations being spread in society with the active patronage of the government machinery.
The unions have decided to organise massive campaigns, mobilisations and conventions at the levels of blocks, districts, industrial centres and States in preparation for the mobilisation in Delhi in November.
Leaders of the central trade unions such as Tapan Sen (CITU), Amarjeet Kaur (AITUC), G Sanjeeva Reddy (INTUC) and Harbhajan Singh Siddu (HMS) addressed the Convention. Those who presided over the convention included Dr K Hemalata of CITU, Ramendra Kumar of AITUC, Ashok Singh of INTUC and Harbhajan Singh Siddu of HMS.