New Delhi, 26th November 2020
The workers responded with a firm resolve all over the country to the call of the Joint Platform of CTUs and Independent Associations and Federations to demonstrate against the anti-labour, anti-farmer and anti-national policies of the Central Government, as the reports reaching New Delhi suggest. In Delhi, the leaders of INTUC (Ashok Singh), AITUC (Amarjeet Kaur), HMS (Harbhajan Singh Sidhu), CITU (Tapan Sen), AIUTUC (R. K. Sharma), SEWA (Lata), AICCTU (Santosh Rai), LPF (J. P. Singh), UTUC (Shatrujeet Singh) and MEC gathered, along with hundreds of activists, near Jantar Mantar crossing to register their protest. This time, the farmers’ apex organisation All India Kisan Sangharsh Co-ordination Committee (AIKSCC) has extended their support to the Workers Demands and the Workers have reciprocated by supporting their opposition to the recently passed anti-farmer agri-laws. Accordingly there are reports of Grameen Hartals and demonstrations in rural India today. This situation has arisen because the incumbent BJP Government is following in the footsteps of the Britishers, using unconstitutional means to sacrifice the workers’ and the farmers’ interests in favour of the corporates and it was the duty of the workers and the farmers to beat them back for their own constitutional rights.
The states of Kerala, Puducherry, Odisha, Assam and Telangana have reported complete shut down. Tamil Nadu reports complete shut down in 13 districts, while the industrial strike continues in the rest of the districts, Punjab and Haryana have reported that the state road transport buses have not left their depots in the morning. Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh report 100% strike including in BALCO. The scheme workers, Electricity employees, domestic workers, construction workers, beedi workers, hawkers, vendors, agricultural workers, self employed in rural and urban India are holding demonstrations at various places, even defying police restrictions. They are forming human chains instead, like in Mumbai and vatrious other districts in Maharashtra. At many places, the auto and taxi drivers have remained off the roads. Railway and Defence employees have held demonstrations in support of the strike, at their respective places of work. Financial institutions – banks, insurance etc. have remained closed. State Government employees, Central Government employees-including 100% of income tax department- and other PSU workers have participated in a big way. The reports of successful strike in coal and copper mines including other mineral resource mines have been received. The employees of postal, telecom and steel sector were also in action and gramin dak sevaks observed 100% strike. In several places oil sector unions also observed strike. Picketing was resorted to in some parts of the country. The total of those joining the strike this time has exceeded the number in 08.01.2020 strike, i.e.25 crore.
The demands of the strike are:
- Cash transfer of Rs. 7500 per month for all non income tax paying families.
- 10 kg free ration per person per month to all needy.
- Expansion of MGNREGA to provide 200 days’ work in a year in rural areas at enhanced wages; extension of employment guarantee to urban areas.
- Withdraw all anti farmer laws and anti worker labour codes.
- Stop privatisation of public sector including the financial sector and stop corporatisation of Govt run manufacturing and service entities like Railways, Ordinance Factories, Ports etc.
- Withdraw the draconian circular on forced premature retirement of Government & PSU Employees.
- Provide Pension to all, scrap NPS and restore earlier Pension, improve EPS-95.
There are reports of arrests of farmers not only in Haryana, Rajasthan and UP, but arrests have been made even by raiding Gurudwara Majnu ka Tila in Delhi, in an attempt to pre-empt their action on 26th and 27th November. Nevertheless they are advancing towards Delhi for their Chalo Parliament programme on 27th November, when the workers will stand with them across India.