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India: Trade Unions join farmers at Delhi protest sites in show of May Day solidarity, calling on government to repeal Agriculture Bills, vaccinate workers and halt privatisation

“This May Day is in the Name of Worker-Farmer Solidarity”, 01 May 2021

… [T]he Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) and the Central Trade Unions decided to celebrate the May Day jointly, as Mazdoor-Kisan Ekta Diwas, by highlighting the demands and rights of workers, farmers and the rights and livelihood issues of the Indian people. It was also decided that such programs should take place more widely across the country. The following demands were put forward:

  1. The Labor Code, the Agricultural Laws and the Electricity Amendment Bill must be withdrawn.
  2. The exploitative vaccine policy must be withdrawn and free immunization for all must be provided.
  3. Minimum Selling Price at C2 + 50% rate for all agricultural produce with assured purchase must be implemented.
  4. Privatization / disinvestment and corporatization processes must be discontinued.

… It remains to be seen whether this May Day could also denote a beginning of deeper critical and constructive engagement with the issues of the marginalized workers – the farm labourers, dalit workers, women, who are constantly at the risk of feeling othered within the ongoing battle against the State-Corporate nexus.

Through the joint initiative, this May Day saw a further development of what has been termed as a “rock-like solidarity” between the farmers’ united struggle and the trade union movement in India…

The demands of the workers and the farmers coincide not only as in an ideological battle, but in the day-to-day hardship that the Indian working class has been increasingly facing due to … privatization … worsening contractualization norms, unemployment, precarious employment, informalization, migration … systematic deprivation of the underprivileged class from public distribution system …, health and education facilities, increasing disempowerment of the specially abled…

Other than the CTUs, the farmers’ movement has been and continues to be supported by many civil society groups, independent activists and civilians and smaller trade union activists…

On May Day, thousands of workers reached the farmers’ dharna sites on the borders of Delhi. The leaders stated how under the guise of corona, the central government launched direct attacks on farmers, laborers and common citizens…