A nationwide strike has been announced by 10 central trade unions to protest new labour policies introduced by the Centre.
About 25 crore workers are likely to partake in the Bharat Bandh in protest against new policies such as the farm and labour laws, as well as the rampant increase in privatisation of the public sector.
On Saturday, leaders of the participating trade unions had declared that barring those occupied in catering to essential services, workers from all sectors would participate in the nationwide strike.
Who is participating?
The following labour unions are to take part in the strike tomorrow:
- All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU)
- All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC)
- All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC)
- Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU)
- Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS)
- Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC)
- Labour Progressive Federation (LPF)
- Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA)
- Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC)
- United Trade Union Congress (UTUC)
However, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), which is aligned to the Indian government, has decided to boycott the strike. "It is clarified that BMS and its units will not participate (in) this politically motivated strike on November 26, 2020," said BMS in a statement.
Congress in Odisha also clarified its absence from the Bandh, after holding a meeting between the trade union leaders, and Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik on Saturday.
Supporters of the strike:
The strike notice has been issued in most parts of the country by associations of government employees in the public sector, as well as the independent sectoral federations.
Scheme workers, construction workers, domestic workers, agricultural workers, vendors, and those who are self-employed will take to the streets for chakka jam. Contrarily, auto and taxi drivers have decided to stay off the roads in most of the states.
To support those speaking for their cause, associations of railways and defense employees have also decided to mobilise tomorrow.
The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), has also shown solidarity with those partaking in the general strike. "It is heartening that the peasants, who are already in the midst of the struggle against the draconian farm laws passed by the Modi govt, support the workers fighting against the anti-worker measures of this government," read its statement.
The All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) on Tuesday also announced its decision to join the strike. The AIBEA has four lakh bank employees from several public and private banks, as well as having workers from foreign banks as its members. "The Lok Sabha in its recently held session has passed three new labour enactments by dismantling existing 27 enactments in the name of 'Ease of Business', which are purely in the interest of corporates. In the process, 75 percent of workers are being pushed out of the orbits of labour laws since they will have no legal protection under the new enactment," stated AIBEA in its press release.
What are the demands?
Apart from protesting the new farm, labour, and privatisation policies, the protesters also demand the provision of 200 days of work under MNREGA, as well as provision of 10 kg of food grains to those in need.
Workers also demand a payment of Rs 7,500 to families who do not pay taxes, and the withdrawal of the "draconian circular on forced premature retirement of government and PSU employees." In light of the latter demand, they have called for scrapping of the National Pension System and reimposition of Employees' Pension Scheme from 1995.
The strike is supposed to commence from midnight, November 25.