TELANGANA state government has not taken any necessary steps since the last seven years to amend minimum wages in 73 scheduled employment sectors and the workers are in frustration.
CITU state committee of Telangana had taken up this issue for the campaign in the month of September 2021, also added the demands of abolishing Labour Codes, to issue gazette of GO’s released for five sectors in June 2021. ‘
Padayatra was organised to expose the antiworker policies of central and state governments to motivate the working class, for 22 days travelling 400 km, in the industrial clusters in and around Hyderabad covering six districts.
Parallel to the above the district leadership of CITU had organised padyatras, jeep jathas, study tours and met the workers on the same demands. CITU had given a strike call on October 8th to intensity this campaign further. The campaign was designed to meet 1.20 crore workers in 73 sectors. The strike on October 8th was successful. The response is more than expected from workers.
Workers participated in the strike without having any limitations of affiliations to trade unions. The independent call of this strike by CITU had mobilised approximately five lakh workers from 52 industrial clusters. Nearly 2,20,000 workers from industrial areas around Hyderabad, took part in the strike.
THE MANNER OF STRIKE
The number of migrant workers is increasing in many sectors in the state. Workers are migrating from Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka; 60-70 per cent of workers in the industries are migrant workers.
The padayatra team had campaigned on the issues and wages of migrant workers. A pamphlet in Hindi was published. Many migrant workers participated in the strike. Workers could participate in the strike by holding CITU flags.
The workers had come forward courageous to take part in the strike in Medchal district especially from the pharma sector -Mylan, Aurobindo, Reddy Labs, MSN Companies etc. Nearly 66 companies in Sangareddy and 1,486 in Medchal districts were closed indicating the intensity of the strike. Out of 8,000 industries, the strike was observed in 3,000 industries. Workers lost 2.20 lakhs of working days on the strike day.
Workers did not attend to the work on the day of the strike in spite of their detention with a huge police force by large companies in many districts. The workers had given tit for tat through their participation in the strike to the industries minister, K T R, who commented in the assembly that the state government had resolved all the issues of workers and there is no work for CITU now in the state. They challenged the government to visit the industrial areas and see their worsening working condition.
A dharna was organised in the state capital, Hyderabad at the labour commissioner office. M Saibabu and C Ramulu from CITU state leadership addressed the workers. S Veeraiah participated in Jeedimetla industrial cluster, state leadership and cadre were involved in the strike to make it a success. All India leaders B V Raghavulu, A K Padmanabhan, M A Gafoor et al, also participated in this campaign.
Contract workers/employees of all the sectors were also involved in this campaign along with industrial workers. Out of 3,000 contract workers in NTPC, 2,800 workers were on strike. In 35 years of this company history, the independent strike call of CITU has resulted in a tremendous response from workers. Workers were united irrespective of their affiliations. 4,000 workers of Singareni were in strike. Cement industry workers in Suryapet district, ITC workers in Bhadrachalam, Granite industry, Khajipet industrial areas were part of this campaign and& strike.
About seven lakh workers in the beedi industry were on strike. 18,000 handloom workers were on strike. About 5,000 handloom workers from Siricilla district which is represented by K T R, industries minister, were also on strike
Contract and outsourcing workers linked with government departments also participated in strike, demanding a hike in their salaries. About 25,000 workers in grama panchayats and municipalities also participated in this strike, which resulted in the disruption of sanitation. TRSKV, IFTU affiliated unions too participated. The workers affiliated with INTUC, HMS, BMS also participated in some places. The strike campaign was extended to petrol pumps, shopping malls, hotels, educational institutions too.
The working class is deeply agitated and frustrated as the managements gained their profits and did not bother about the welfare of the workers and also the government did not show any concern to increase the wages post covid. Padayatyra ignited the workers' anger and galvanised them for this massive participation in the strike.