SUCCESSFUL GENERAL STRIKE ON NOVEMBER 26: CITU Salutes Toiling Masses
THE Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) congratulates the hundreds of millions of workers and peasants across the country for rising as one to protest against the atrocious attacks of the Modi led BJP government, on their, rights, lives and livelihoods and against the anti-worker, anti-people and anti-national policies. In a statement issued on November 26, it said that over 25 crore workers, agricultural workers and other sections of toiling people who produce the wealth of the country, struck work. They were joined by millions of peasants in the massive protest actions across the country including in remote rural areas.
The atmosphere in several states, including Kerala, West Bengal, Tripura etc resembled a bandh with the transport coming to a standstill and factories, shops, offices and commercial establishments wearing deserted look. In Assam and several other states also there was a bandh like situation.
Strike was total in many industrial clusters in the country – in Karnataka, Telangana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Delhi etc. Most of the workers in Calcutta, Chennai, Tuticorin, Cochin, JNPT, Vizag and Paradip ports were on strike. Coal workers, steel workers, iron ore workers etc including contract workers participated in the strike despite threats from the contractors. Strike was near total in the Bengaluru based public sector and also to a great extent in the PSUs in Hyderabad region. Public and private road transport was seriously affected by the strike in several states like Assam, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh etc. Indian seamen, not only in India, but also those who were on duties in different parts of the world held solidarity actions from wherever they were located.
The strike was total in the insurance, massive in banks. Central and state government employees participated in the strike in almost all states. Telecom workers joined the strike in large numbers.
Crores of unorganised sector workers – construction workers, head load workers, shop employees, beedi workers, private road transport workers, the traditional sector workers including plantation, coir, workers etc, scheme workers etc participated in the strike. Around 20,000 anganwadi employees struck work and courted arrest in Punjab.
All over the country, several thousands of workers, peasants, agricultural workers, youth, women and students participated in the road and rail blockades.
Unnerved by the massive response of the workers to the general strike on November 26, of the response of the peasants to the protests called by the over 250 kisan organisations on November 26-27, coinciding with the strike and the unprecedented solidarity of these toiling sections of people, the BJP government at the centre, as well as some state governments resorted to repression. The Delhi police under the government of India did not allow the workers and peasants to gather and arrested many of those protesting in Jantar Mantar. The BJP government in Haryana sealed the borders with Delhi and resorted to midnight raids and arrested hundreds of peasant and trade union leaders. But they could not deter them from marching on and coming to national capital. Simultaneously, multiple numbers of dhanas were held in all the places of police-blockade by thousands of people.
The BJP goons in Tripura, with the tacit support of the BJP state government and its police, tried to force the shops open, failing which they attacked and ransacked the offices of the trade unions and the Left parties which supported the strike. Around 700 construction workers were arrested across the country including in Odisha and West Bengal. ‘Preventive arrests’ of CITU leaders were made in Krishna and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh. Trade union activists and leaders were arrested in several other states including Telangana.
The countrywide general strike on 26th November 26 also received huge international attention and solidarity. In addition to the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) solidarity messages were also sent by scores of its affiliates, and also many other international trade unions fighting against neoliberalism in their own countries.
While congratulating the workers for the massive strike and expressing heartfelt gratitude to the WFTU, the international trade union movement and peasants for their solidarity and support, CITU warns the BJP government that it cannot suppress the workers through vindictive actions or arrests. The workers and peasants will not rest till the disastrous and disruptive policies of the BJP government are reversed. The strike today is only a beginning. Much more intense struggles will be following.