Farmers, bank & defence unions to take part in CITU’s nationwide strike against Modi govt

Ten central trade unions have called for a two-day nationwide strike over January 8 and 9, against the economic policies of the Narendra Modi led government

Farmers, bank & defence unions to take part in CITU’s nationwide strike against Modi govt

NH Web Desk

Ten central trade unions have called for a two-day nationwide strike over January 8 and 9, against the economic policies of the Narendra Modi led government. They have announced they would organise road and rail blockades across the country, in addition to street protests in different towns and cities.

The trade unions issued a press release about their plans for the 48-hour strike on Monday. The trade unions organising the strike include INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, AICCTU, SEWA, LPF and UTUC.

The trade unions claimed that the preparations for the strike had received support from all sections of the society. The general strike is expected to see participation from farmer unions and unions in banking and insurance, mining, petroleum, postal department, telecom, steel, education and defence.

The press release added that workers in the unorganised sector were also preparing for “massive strike action” during the general strike, including“rasta roko, rail roko agitations and massive mobilisations.” Railway unions have also expressed support for a general strike.

Tapan Sen, the general secretary of CITU, said that the public sector employees, unorganised sector workers, port and dock workers, and bank and insurance employees, among others, are going to observe the nationwide protest on January 8 and 9 against the worsening economic crisis, price rise and acute unemployment, on the call of central trade unions and mass organisations.

The CITU denounced the unilateral move of the government of India to amend the Trade Union Act 1926, in the name of bringing about "so-called transparency" and avoiding "duplicacy," as noted in the press briefing by the Union Cabinet.

Sen alleged that the proposed Trade Union (Amendment) Bill, 2018, as cleared by the Cabinet, is designed to impose conditions of slavery on the working people and totally abrogate trade union rights.

"It is not merely labour reform. It is an all-out degeneration in the life of productive people in the whole economy," said Sen.

He alleged that under the regime of the Modi government, a repressive atmosphere has been created for the working-class people.

"It is just not distress and destitution. There is altogether a repressive atmosphere, creating a total uncertainty in the world of works," Sen alleged.

CITU was critical of the Modi government's policy of 'Make in India' and alleged that the government has been killing the work culture of the country's public sectors by favouring major contracts of manufacturing works to private players.

"In Rafale deal, there was no transfer of technology. State-owned HAL was kept away from the entire deal. This government may follow similar policies when it will sign other two mega defence deals for F-16 fighter aircraft with Lockheed Martin Corporation of US, and in the purchase of naval frigates from Russia," said Sen.

“We expect 20 crore workers to join the strike. This is the largest number of workers from formal and informal sectors joining the strike against anti-people and anti-worker policies of the BJP-led central government," Amarjeet Kaur, General Secretary of AITUC, told reporters at a joint press conference of the 10 CTUs.

"We will go on protest march from Mandi House to Parliament in New Delhi on Wednesday. Similar protests would be held across the country," she said.

"We have given suggestions on labour codes. But during unions' demands were rejected. We went on strike on September 2, 2016. We also did a three-day 'Mahapadav' (agitation) from November 9-11 in 2017. But the government did not come for dialogue, rather going ahead with unilateral labour reforms," she said.

"The government has failed to create jobs and grossly ignored unions' 12-point charter of demands. The Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on labour issues has not called unions for any discussion since September 2, 2015 strike. This has left us with no other option but to go on strike," Kaur said.

Atul Kumar Anjaan of the CPI's peasant wing said that the action committee of farmers in their meeting decided that when the workers, employees and common people are protesting against the Modi government's policies, the farmers will also join them.

"AIKS and Bhumi Adhikar Andolan will observe 'gramin hartal', rail roko and road roko on January 8 and 9, the day trade unions are observing nationwide general strike. This move is against the Modi government's failure to address rural distress issues, to save rural farmers' lands from the corporates. The farmers will extend all support to the ensuing general strike," said Hannan Mollah, general secretary of the CPI(M)-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha.

A section of PSU bank employees would also go on a two-day strike on January 8 and 9, in support of the nation-wide strike call given by central trade unions.

The All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and Bank Employees Federation of India has informed the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) of the two-day nationwide strike on January 8-9, 2019.

In a separate filing to the BSE, Bank of Baroda said, "In the event of AlBEA and BEFI proceeding on strike on January 8-9, 2019, the functioning of bank's branches/offices in some of the zones may be affected."

with inputs from PTI

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