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10 trade unions call for nationwide strike over unemployment

Ten central trade unions have called for a nationwide general strike on January 8 and 9, 2019, to protest the widespread job losses and unemployment caused by the government’s economic policies and labour law reforms.

The decision was announced at the National Convention of Workers on Friday. Apart from RSS-affiliated Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, all central trade unions will back the agitations to be held in the run-up to the 2019 general elections.

“Unemployment situation is getting aggravated, with employment generation practically turned negative even in the most labour intensive sectors,” said the declaration adopted at the Convention. The declaration blamed government policies such as demonetisation and the implementation of the GST regime, as well as the scrapping of 44 central labour laws and efforts to codify them into four employer-friendly codes for the situation.

The general strike will be preceded by mass joint protests across the over the next three months, said the unions.

“This anti-people, anti-workers and anti-national policy regime…is severely damaging the national economy and destroying its indigenous productive and manufacturing capabilities to serve the interests of the multinational companies with Indian corporates as their junior partner. This regime must be defeated squarely,” said the declaration, which also slammed the Rafale deal as the biggest scam still being unearthed.

The unions also condemned the undermining of the bipartite and tripartite principles and the government’s unwillingness to dialogue with them and its tendency to drag its feet in trade negotiations. The declaration noted that the last Indian Labour Conference was held way back in July 2015. It also slammed what it called the “conspiratorial and authoritarian attack” of the government to shut out the country’s biggest union, the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) from representation at all domestic and international fora.

The declaration repeated the demands for higher minimum wages, universal social security and against privatisation and mass scale contractorisation.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 11:23:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/10-trade-unions-call-for-nationwide-strike-over-unemployment/article25073445.ece

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