Peasants, Agri workers & Rural Artisans To Join Sept 2 Strike;
Peasants, Agri workers & Rural Artisans
To Join Sept 2 Strike;
Observe Sept 1 as Demands Day
All India organisations of kisan and agricultural workers – All India Kisan Sabha (36 Canning Lane), All India Kisan Sabha (Ajoy Bhavan) All India Agriculture Workers Union, Bharathiya Khet Mazdoor Union, All India Krishak Khet Mazdoor Sangathan, All India Kisan Mahasabha, Samyukt Kisan Sabha and Agragami Kisan Sabha have jointly issued the following statement on August 14.
THE policy of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation being pursued in the name of development has mostly affected the rural people and India is witnessing an unprecedented and protracted deep agrarian crisis. The government policies resulted in increasing input cost and lack of remunerative prices along with natural calamities have made the agriculture a loss-making venture consequently putting the lives of peasants, agricultural workers and artisans in serious distress. In the last 15 years 3, 02,116 peasants had committed suicide according to the NCRB, National Crime Records Bureau. According to government statistics, 4268 peasants had left agriculture per day during these years. 52 percent of farm households are under indebtedness. The average debt is Rs 47,000 per agricultural household where monthly income per household from cultivation is Rs 3081. Distress migration is the order of the day in the countryside.
The BJP led NDA government which came to power promising the reversal of these is pursuing the same policies and taking much more advanced steps to intensify the situation. The agrarian distress is continuing and the peasant suicides have increased by 26 percent since the NDA government assumed power and there is no effective step to prevent peasant suicides. The prime minister has betrayed the election promise of providing 50 percent in addition to the cost of production as minimum support price to agricultural products. It had drastically cut the allocation for the MNREGS and limited its coverage to only 2500 blocks instead of 6576 blocks.
The latest economic-social survey conducted by central government has exposed the so-called development of rural sector. It is revealing alarming levels of landlessness and poor income as well as nutritional levels, health and educational standards of the vast majority of Indians.
The adverse weather condition in addition to the volatility of prices of crops in the last few months had aggravated the situation and many states particularly Haryana, Maharashtra and Karnataka witnessed unprecedented farmers’ suicides. The government has failed to address the distress by taking measures to declare remunerative prices, timely procurement, release of money for the procured products such as sugarcane, paddy etc., compensation for crop loss and loan waivers which the peasant organisations are demanding. Instead, the BJP led NDA government has three times brought ordinance replacing the 2013 Land Acquisition Act in order to snatch the lands of farmers without their consent or social impact assessment.
Kisan organisations in cooperation with agricultural workers’ organisations and social movements have created effective mass pressure by organising massive demonstrations before the parliament on February 24 and May 5, 2015 and by organising various joint programmes throughout the country demanding withdrawal of this land acquisition ordinance. We have formed a platform – Movement for Land Rights – and were able to forge issue based unity across political lines and expose the pro-corporate face of the NDA government. Due to pressure of such countrywide movements by organisations of farmers and social organisations and protest by opposition political parties inside and outside parliament, the BJP led government had to agree to refer this Bill to the joint committee of the parliament and the government was forced to not take up the Bill in the monsoon session of the parliament. It is a resounding victory for the peasantry that provides immense confidence to further intensify struggles. The corporate lobby definitely will do everything to push the Bill soon after the Bihar elections.
In this context, our organisations have decided to work together to launch countrywide joint campaign on the problems being faced by farmers, agricultural workers and rural artisans. In a joint meeting held on July 21 we decided to organise a “Campaign Fortnight” from August 16-31 throughout the country on the issues being faced by kisans, agricultural workers and rural artisans. Joint meetings and conventions at state level, mass meetings, seminars, torch light processions and other programmes at block, taluk and district levels will be organised to draw the attention of public in general against the anti-people policies of the governments. Leaflets, posters, wall writings, house-to-house campaigns etc will also be organised to widely mobilise the public opinion.
Other kisan organisations and platforms like Bhoo Adhikar Andolan, Movement for Land Rights, and progressive individuals, collectives and mass movements also are expected to come forward to join the strike to forge wider unity of the working class and the peasantry against the corporate hegemony represented by the policies of the NDA government.
ON SEPT 1
Demonstrations and mass protest meetings will be organised at block, tehsil, taluk and district levels. Charter of demands addressed to the prime minister and chief ministers will be handed over to the authorities on that day.
JOIN THE SEPT 2,
TU GENERAL STRIKE
The last one year of NDA government has also witnessed manifold attack on the workers both in the organised and unorganised sectors. The united trade union movement had been raising the issues of the working class against these neo-liberal policies. Instead of considering their demands of arresting the price rise, minimum wages and social security and stop privatisation of public sector units including the navaratnas, the government is bringing changes in the labour laws to give the employers freedom to hire and fire and doing away with even the eight hour’s work. All the central trade unions including Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh have jointly announced all India strike against the anti-people policies of the NDA government on September 2.
The organisations of kisans, agricultural workers and rural artisans and social movements will actively support this TU strike by organising various forms of actions like road roko, rail roko etc.
The world capitalist crisis is intensifying and the policies of the globalisation have endangered the interests of the peasantry and the working class world over. We have to learn lessons from that and if the government is not willing to review and repeal the neo-liberal policies the country will face severe economic hardships. The working class and the peasantry all over the country shall be united to force change in the pro-Corporate development policies of the NDA government.
Charter of Demands for Joint Campaign & Movement
1) Scrap the Land Acquisition Ordinance 2015
2) Implement Progressive Land Reforms and a National Land Use Policy
3) Government should ensure Rs 3000 as minimum monthly pension to all the toiling farmers, agricultural workers and rural artisans
4) Protect agricultural land from the loot of corporates, land-mafia and real estate
5) Ensure social security of agricultural workers, central legislation and minimum of 12 decimal land for house sites with minimum Rs 5 lakhs assistance for construction of houses for rural poor
6) Ensure Cost+50% (C2+50%) as MSP for all crops as recommended by Swaminathan Commission and guarantee purchasing centres in all areas
7) Strengthen PDS and ensure food security and supply all consumer goods at cheaper rates. Stop dismantling of the FCI
8) Scrap anti-working class labour reforms and stop attacks on working class. Protect children and stop child labour
9) Ensure more public investment in agriculture to develop infrastructure and for supplying inputs to farmers at cheaper rates. Stop FDI in agriculture
10) Return of such unused lands taken for SEZ or any other projects to the farmers
11) Ensure 200 days work for MNREGA with minimum Rs 300 as daily wage
12) Ensure interest free credit to poor and middle peasantry, share croppers and agricultural workers and not more than 4 percent interest for other farmers
13) Ensure proper crop insurance and protection of crops and lives from wild animals
14) Minimum Rs10 lakhs as relief to the suicide affected farmers' families
15) Ensure universal right to education, health and employment
16) Stop attacks and social atrocities on women, dalits, tribals and minorities.
Adivasi Organisations Support Sept 2 Strike
ADIVASI Adhikar Rashtriya Manch, Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Mahasabha, Campaign for Survival and Dignity and Bharat Jan Andolan representing tribal communities across the country have declared their support to the call for a General Strike on September 2, given by the Central Trade Unions.
In a statement issued on August 24, they said that adivasi workers displaced from their original habitats through coercive land grab and displacement driven by corporate interests are forced into the ranks of contract or daily workers in different sectors. A substantial section of adivasis work in the construction industry, or are employed as contract workers in the mining industry with no protective laws. Adivasi women migrate to cities as domestic workers but have no rights. Adivasi workers demand strengthening and implementation of their rights.
The Modi government by introducing labour reform is out to destroy even existing rights.
The organisations have said that the strike call is justified and timely and has their wholehearted support.
Preparations in Maharashtra for Sept 2 Strike
HECTIC preparations in Maharashtra are in full swing for the success of the all India strike on September 2. In all districts in the state including Mumbai, joint conventions have been held to explain the importance of the national strike. The conventions witnessed enthusiastic participations of trade union functionaries. The participants included leaders and activists from all the major trade union organisations who are signatories to the call for the national strike. Apart from such joint meetings and conventions, some of the organisations have held separate meetings to explain the demands as well as to prepare their own rank and file for the strike. In addition to such meetings, a centralised state convention was held in Mumbai on July 31. The venue was the Bhupesh Gupta Bhavan in central Mumbai. The main speaker in this convention was Tapan Sen, CITU general secretary. This was attended by state leaders from the AITUC, BMS, HMS, INTUC, banks and insurance, state government employees, school, college and university teachers organisations. Apart from joint conventions in district head quarters, unions have held rallies and demonstrations as well. Central government employees have also held meetings in different districts in this connection. CITU state president Narsayya Adam and general secretary Dr DL Karad addressed several meetings all over Maharashtra for mobilisation of workers in the strike. The response to the call for the national strike amongst industrial workers having affiliations to different organisations has been quite good. Similar meetings have also been held in public sector industries like coal, oil and petroleum, banks, insurance, state government employees and transport industries. Earlier, CITU held a meeting of the state council on July 14. This was addressed by Tapan Sen. In addition the CITU in Mumbai held a meeting at Bhandup on August 9. This was attended by prominent activists and functionaries from different parts in the city. Thus the preparation for the strike is in fill swing in the state of Maharashtra.
DYFI to Join in Support of Sep 2 Strike
THE central executive committee of the Democratic Youth Federation of India has expressed support for the General Strike on September 2, 2015 called by the central trade unions in the country.
The DYFI along with working class and the trade union movement has consistently been resisting the disastrous economic policies that are only favouring big corporates. The resistance movement is getting a wider reach, encompassing all other sections of the society.
The severest impact of the government policies is manifested in the accentuation of poverty of the mass of the Indian people, ever-spiralling price-rise and the unabated increase in unemployment. Poverty is aggravating, in a big way, and the constantly mounting prices of essential commodities have been putting downward pressure on the livelihood of the mass of the population pushing more and more people into utter distress.
All these manifestations of the LPG policies - poverty, price-rise and unemployment need to be tackled urgently, if the government has even the least concern for the sufferings of the people. But, the Modi government at the centre has engaged in a hot pursuit of the structural adjustment programme, which has nothing to deal with these problems of poverty, price-rise and unemployment. Rather, the thrust and the direction of the government policies are aimed at making the lives of common people more and more miserable on these fronts.
The unemployment, underemployment and various burning issues attached with contractual employment are on the rise in the country. The labour law amendments already made and several others proposed and pending in different stages are clearly indicating the anti-labour policy direction of the government. It is clear that the contractual, contingent workers sharply increased in the last two decades, precisely coinciding with the period when India went ahead with the liberalisation policy. According to the data of Annual Survey of Industries for various years, one-third of the organised manufacturing sector workforce is out of the ambit of Industrial Dispute Act requiring no prior permission for retrenchment. Even the regular workers employed in establishments employing less than 100 workers are out of the ambit of law. Thus, if we add the number of regular workers below the employment threshold to the contractual workforce then in 2013-14 the proportion of workers for whom no prior permission from the government was necessary for carrying out termination stood at almost 60 percent of the total workforce. Therefore, with such large proportion of workforce already not in the ambit of labour laws, the government is further easing the norms in favour of the corporate sector. These changes, while strengthening the hands of corporates, would bring along uncertainty and insecurity in the lives of millions of workers.
A ban on recruitment is in place in various PSUs, central government departments, as well as in various state government undertakings. 2.25 Lakh posts are currently lying vacant in railways. According to the AK Khandelwal Committee report, one lakh posts are vacant in various public sector banks. All these along with the agrarian distress, make employment, the basic requirement of youth, a distant dream. The government should reverse its policies on agriculture, uncontrolled imports of agricultural products etc in order to make farming sustainable and to generate rural employment.
The government at the centre should immediately come forward and listen the demands and issues raised by trade unions and act accordingly. These are issues having wider social repercussions, not limited within the factory compounds. The DYFI stands hand-in-hand and shoulder-to-shoulder with workers of the country in their protest.
Instead of trying to disrupt the unity and destroy the national and social fabric along communal lines, the central government should take note of the mounting resentment among the workers, agricultural labourers, farmers, youth, students and various other sections of the country reflected through series of strike actions. The series of communal conflagrations which the nation continues to witness are not just efforts to communalise the Indian mind, but part of a more diabolic design to divide people united in action against the policies of the government.
DYFI will organise protest marches to a central government office in all the district headquarters in the country on August 31, 2015 expressing solidarity for the September 2, strike and raising various issues concerning youth, like unemployment, existing recruitment ban, issues of contractual employment, demanding rural employment generation by making agriculture a sustainable activity etc.
Working Class in Kerala All Set to
Make Success Sept 2 Strike
N S Sajith
THE WELL-knit organisational structure of various trade unions in Kerala is all-set to make the September 2 all India strike a massive success. A huge resistance of the working class against the neo-liberal policies which is making the lives of people miserable is gaining momentum with the ongoing preparations to make the nationwide strike a grand success. This is the 16th nationwide strike since the implementation of the neo-liberal policies.
In Kerala, all the trade unions, with the CITU in the forefront, have campaigned and spread the message of the strike among the people from all walks of life. “We hope that the participation of workers will be bigger than in the previous strikes”, said Elamaram Kareem, CITU state general secretary.
In Kerala, traditional industries like coir, handloom, beedi are on the verge of collapse. So far the government has not taken any adequate steps to save these industries which provide livelihood to lakhs of people. Construction sector and the public sector industries are also badly effected due to the negligence of state and central governments. Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Limited, a major PSU in the state is sinking due to non implementation of the centre’s revival package. A remarkable effort of the previous LDF government to revive all PSU’s was undone by the present UDF government. Companies like HMT and HOC are on the threshold of closure. Kerala State RTC, another major state PSU which gives employment to lakhs of people is going through a distress. Both, the disintegration of public distribution system and non-intervention of the government in the market have caused an unprecedented price rise. The protest of the people against all these, will reflect in the success of the all India strike, Kareem said.
Central and state government employees and teachers will also participate in the strike. State and district level conventions were held in the run up to the strike. Evening dharnas and other campaign programmes are being held in various centers to spread the message of the strike. Torch light marches will also be held in all centres in the state on September 1, he added.