June 21, 2020

Kisan, Worker Unions Gear Up for Big Struggles

A JOINT meeting of the central leadership of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), All India Agricultural Workers’ Union (AIAWU) and Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) was held on June 9 to discuss the current acute distress and growing economic crisis in the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.  The meeting concluded that instead of taking effective measures to contain the pandemic, the BJP government is aggressively trying to centralise entire governance through authoritarian measures and fascistic intent. At the same time, RSS led forces are communalising even the Corona pandemic.

The meeting took serious note of the aggressive measures taken by the BJP-led central government to complete the neoliberal process, taking advantage of the lockdown. Paradigm shift in agricultural economy, finishing off peasant agriculture to benefit the landlord corporate clique through ordinances, endangering food security, near total elimination of public sector, totally liberalised FDI in crucial and strategic sectors of the economy finishing off our self reliance, annulment of all labour laws to impose slavery on the working class and so on were discussed in the meeting.
The union leaders concluded that the lockdown has created a situation of reverse migration, acute unemployment, deepening absolute poverty and total lack of health facilities, particularly in the countryside. It is only the LDF government in Kerala, which has been making internationally acclaimed efforts in containing Covid-19 but also addressing the issues of migrant workers as an alternative to the neoliberal policies. The discontent of the people against the government is growing, which is reflected in their participation in the independent and joint calls of each sector against the policies of the government, they said.

The actions called by CITU on April 21, May 1, May 14 and May 30 and by the joint platform of central trade unions on May 22, the Kisan Samman Diwas on May 16 and protest on May 27 by the AIKSSCC and the All India Protest Day on June 4 by the AIAWU received magnificent response, the meeting noted. It was decided that the AIKS and AIAWU will support the calls of the CTUs, of all India protest day on July 3 and for non-cooperation and defiance.

The meeting concluded that there was an urgent need for joint, more direct and visible movements at all levels, especially at the grassroots level on burning issues of the people in general, which must be stepped up to combative countrywide united struggles against the anti-people, anti-farmer, anti-worker neoliberal policy regime. There must be more countrywide struggles with a series of local struggles preceding and succeeding it.

The meeting decided to launch a nationwide joint campaign on the major immediate demands of the people – health, food, income and employment along with others. They highlighted five demands including free universal healthcare for all, 10 kg of free food grains per person per month to all for six months, Rs 7,500 per month for all non-tax-paying families for next six months, a minimum of 200 days work in MNREGA at Rs 600 per day wage or unemployment allowance, enactment and implementation of urban employment guarantee scheme and rescinding the ordinances/executive orders on essential commodities, farm trade, Electricity Act and labour laws.  It is also decided to address the issues of migrant workers on priority basis.

On these demands, CITU, AIKS and AIAWU have resolved to conduct a joint campaign to culminate in massive militant actions. They have called for a joint campaign up to village level during the months of June and July. On July 23, local-level action and mobilisations and a massive countrywide militant mobilisation and action on August 9 would be conducted, they said.