Trade Unions will join Farmers in a fierce looking protest which is scheduled on 16th of the next month. A day after the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) announced a rural strike on February 16, the Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions (CTUs) have announced an industrial strike for the same day.
Announcing the decision at a joint press conference here on Wednesday, leaders of the SKM and the CTUs said roads and rails will be blocked and processions and picketing will be organised at Central Government offices against the policies of the Narendra Modi government. The leaders said 22 political parties have pledged support to their demand charter that includes various livelihood issues concerning workers, agriculture workers and farmers.
Ashok Singh, senior vice-president of Indian National Trade Union Congress, outlined the forum’s call for the nationwide strike as a protest against the anti-national, anti-worker and anti-farmer policies of the Centre. The forum also endorsed the SKM’s “tractor parade” to be held on January 26.
The reason for strike according to Trade Unions and Farmers
The protesting leaders have urged students, youth, teachers, women, social movements and those in the field of art, culture and literature to support the strike.
“This government is continuously carrying out barbarous onslaughts on the lives and livelihood of toiling people as a whole and aggressively pursuing anti-worker, anti-farmer and anti-people measures through various legislations, executive orders and policy drives,” they said.
They said the decision to send construction workers to Israel flouts emigration laws, which prohibit workers from being sent to conflict zones.
“The Centre is exploiting unemployment,” said AITUC general secretary Amarjeet Kaur adding that the Centre and states are sending workers to Israel for political reasons. “There is no guarantee of their safety. The National Skill Development Corporation and the Centre are dodging questions on their safety,” she said.
CITU general secretary Tapan Sen said the Centre seeks to provide cheap manpower to Israel, which is engaged in genocidal war against Palestine, and violates UN Resolutions. He said it is also against the established foreign policy of India that recognises Palestine as a free independent sovereign nation.
“What it amounts to is, that we are standing with a genocidal war mongering Israel and putting the lives of Indian workers at risk. The Government must put a halt to this inhuman move,” he said adding that the CTUs will jointly resist attempts to use workers for political purposes.
The demands proposed by Trade Unions and Farmers
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) and the joint platform of Central Trade Unions/Federations/Associations have called for a countrywide strike on February 16 to demand an increase in the minimum support price (MSP), loan waiver for small and middle farm households, and the repeal of the new labour codes, among other things.
The SKM is an umbrella body of various farm unions, while the joint platform of trade unions consists of the central unions and sectoral worker unions. Apart from this, the unions also demand an increase in the minimum wage to Rs 26,000 per month for workers, repeal of the amendments made to the IPC/CrPC, guaranteed employment as a fundamental right, scrapping of fixed-term employment and contractual jobs.
Their other demands include no to privatisation of education and health, no contractualisation of jobs, scrapping of fixed-term employment, strengthening MGNREGS with 200 days work per person per year and Rs 600 as daily wage, restoring the old pension scheme, pension and social security to all in the formal and informal economy.
They also demanded scrapping of Section 104 of newly introduced BNS, Welfare Boards for all categories of unorganised workers on the lines of construction Workers Welfare Board, Implement the LARR Act 2013 (Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013) among others.