Trade unions join farmers’ protests

People’s cause: Trade union leaders and members protesting at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The strike called by a joint platform of 10 Central trade unions on Thursday in support of the farmers’ agitation and workers’ demands partially impacted life in some parts of the country.

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The trade union leaders and workers assembled at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, where farmers had also gathered to protest against the recent agriculture laws passed by Parliament.

“Kerala, Puducherry, Odisha, Assam and Telangana have reported complete shutdown. Tamil Nadu reported complete shutdown 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,” a statement issued by the joint platform said.

Coal, defence, telecom and banking sectors also saw partial strike, according to the unions. The unions said the All-India Kisan Sangharsh Co-ordination Committee, an apex organisation of farmers’ groups, had come out in support of the workers’ demands. They said 25 crore workers had participated in the strike.

“This situation has arisen because the incumbent BJP government is following in the footsteps of the Britishers, using unconstitutional means to sacrifice the interests of the workers and farmers in favour of the corporates,” the statement said.

The striking workers demanded monthly cash transfers of ₹7,500 for all non-income tax-paying families, 10 kg free ration per person per month to all those in need, expansion of MGNREGA, withdrawal of the new farm laws and labour codes, a stop to privatisation of the public sector, withdrawal of the decision on “forced premature retirement” of government employees and payment of pension to to all.

The unions said they would continue to support the farmers’ agitation as they attempt to reach Parliament on Friday. The unions who called the strike were the All-India Trade Union Congress, the Indian National Trade Union Congress, the Hind Mazdoor Sabha, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, the All-India United Trade Union Centre, the Trade Union Coordination Committee, the Self Employed Women’s Association, the All-India Central Council of Trade Unions, the Labour Progressive Federation and the United Trade Union Congress.

The RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh did not support the strike, saying in a statement on Tuesday that it was “politically motivated”.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 12:11:04 PM |

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