Central trade unions have called a nationwide general strike on January 8 and 9 to protest against the policies for workers adopted by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government. Farmers across the country under the aegis of the Left Peasant Wings will also join the two-day strike. "AIKS and Bhumi Adhikar Andolan will observe 'gramin hartal', rail roko and road roko on January 8 and 9, the day trade unions are observing nationwide general strike. This move is against the Modi government's failure to address rural distress issues, to save rural farmers' lands from the corporate. The farmers will extend all support to the ensuing general strike," said Hannan Mollah, General Secretary of the CPI(M)-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha.
Ten trade unions who have jointly called for the nationwide general strike are INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, AICCTU, UTUC, TUCC, LPF and SEWA. The trade unions have support of almost all major independent federations of central employees, state employees and the employees of banks, insurance, telecom, and other service sectors representing the workers and employees of all the industries and services including transport services, both in organised and unorganised sectors.
In Bengaluru, four unions including Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will extend their support to the protests. Autorickshaw and cab drivers are also likely to join the protests, crippling the city's public transport network. Banking services may be hit as well as schools and colleges may remain shut, as mentioned in multiple reports. The Bengaluru metro will function, so as all the emergency services.
Atul Kumar Anjaan, member of the CPI's peasant wing said that the action committee of farmers decided that farmers will join the workers, employees and common people protesting against the Modi government policies. "The farmers will join road jam, demonstration, protest meetings throughout the country to make the nationwide strike a success and register their disenchantment with PM Narendra Modi and his policies," he added.
Anjaan added that the Modi government has failed to fulfil its promises in the period of four and half years.
General Secretary of CITU, Tapan Sen, said that public sector employees, unorganized sector workers, port and dock workers, bank and insurance employees are going to participate in the January 8 and 9 nationwide protests against growing economic crisis, price hike and acute unemployment.
The CITU denounced the government's move to amend the Trade Union Act 1926 to bring about "so-called transparency" and avoiding "duplicity" as mentioned in the press briefing. Sen alleged that the proposed Trade Union (Amendment) Bill 2018 as cleared by the Cabinet is designed to "impose slavery on the working people". "It is not merely labour reform, it is an all-out degeneration in the life of productive people in the whole economy," he said. "It is just not distress and destitution, there is an altogether a repressive atmosphere creating in the total uncertainty in the world of works," Sen further alleged.
"In Rafale deal, there was no transfer of technology. State owned HAL was kept away from the entire deal. This government will do similar practice when it will sign another two mega defence deals for F-16 fighter aircraft with Lockheed Martin Corporation of US and purchase of Naval frigates from Russia," said Sen. "Our movement is getting stronger every year. This is the 18th nationwide general strike against the government's anti-worker policies. The main aim of our 12-point charter of demands is to revive the country's economy, save the rights of working class," he further added.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya; with PTI inputs)