Express solidarity with trade unions, describe general strike as biggest working class action since Independence
Members of the Left parties boycotted President Pranab Mukherjee’s address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament on Thursday to express solidarity with the trade unions that are on a two-day nationwide strike against the Centre’s economic and labour policies. They later staged a demonstration inside the complex.
MPs of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Revolutionary Socialist Party and Forward Bloc assembled outside Parliament’s main gate carrying placards and raised slogans against the government’s policies.
They blamed the UPA government for the rising prices and growing unemployment. They were critical of its moves to privatise profit-making PSUs and demanded wage revision for various sections of employees and workers.
In a joint statement, the CPI(M), the CPI, the RSP and the Forward Bloc said it was a historic event as it was the first time that all the central trade unions had given a joint call for a strike. “This makes it the biggest working class action since Independence. The Central government has to immediately address the demands and take steps to fulfil them. Otherwise, bigger actions will follow. This is a wakeup call to stop the anti-people and anti-working class policies.”
The statement was signed by the general secretaries of the four parties, Prakash Karat (CPI-M), S Sudhakar Reddy (CPI), T.J. Chandrachoodan (RSP) and Debabrata Biswas (Forward Bloc).
Claiming that the strike was a “magnificent success,” they said workers struck work in all industrial and commercial sectors. It was effective in the petroleum, coal, mining, port and dock, plantation, manufacturing, banking and insurance sectors. State government offices were affected. The participation of workers in the unorganised sectors was also notable, they said.
The parties condemned instances of “police repression” against striking workers. “In West Bengal, despite the State government machinery being used to foil it, there was a powerful strike in various sectors. Kerala observed a total bandh in solidarity with the striking workers,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the CPI (M) Parliamentary group strongly condemned the police action against MPs who were marching towards Parliament along with DYFI, SFI and AIDWA activists demanding the resignation of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P. J. Kurien following the Supreme Court’s direction to reopen the Suryanelli rape case. T. N. Seema, Rajya Sabha MP, and M. B. Rajesh, Lok Sabha MP, were injured and were hospitalised.
The CPI (M) Parliamentary group has demanded strong action against the Delhi police personnel responsible for the incident. As the Delhi police functioned directly under the Union Home Ministry, the Home Minister must answer in both the Houses of Parliament, the group said.