India: Over 250 million workers strike in nation-wide protest against Agriculture Bill & worker repression
“Over 250 million workers join national strike in India”, 26 November 2020
Indian trade unions condemned the arrests of workers’ and farmers’ leaders across the country as they demonstrate together in one of the biggest ever nationwide general strikes … [calling on] the government to repeal anti-worker labour codes and anti-farmer farm laws as a massive mobilization of industrial and agricultural workers and farmers across the country disrupted normal life across the country, in rural and urban areas.
Trade union leaders expressed concerns that, using Covid-19 as an excuse, the government has unleashed widescale repression…
Sanjay Vadhavkar, general secretary of SMEFI and IndustriALL executive committee member said,
“On many aspects they go against India’s commitments in the international human rights and labour rights forums. Mishandling of Covid-19 and anti-people economic policies pushed millions into misery. This strike and the joint action with farmers will send a strong message to government demanding workers’ and people-oriented policies.”
The joint trade union charter of demands:
- Direct cash transfer of Rs 7,500 (US $101) to all families who earn less than the income tax threshold
- 10kg free ration per person every month to all in need.
- Expansion of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to provide employment from the current 100 days to 200 days work in rural areas with enhanced wages, and extension of this programme to urban areas
- Withdrawal of all anti worker labour code changes and anti-farmer laws
- Stop privatization of public sector corporations, including those in the finance sector. Stop the corporatization of government-run manufacturing and services entities in railways, ordinance manufacturing, ports and similar areas.
- Withdraw the draconian circular of forced premature retirement of government and public sector employees.
- Provide a pension to all, restore earlier pension scheme and improve EPS 95.