December 12, 2021
Two-day General Strike of Workers on Feb 23-24

THE Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions and Independent Sectoral All India Federations and Associations have decided to observe a two-day general strike on February 23-24, with the main slogan of “Save the People and Save the Nation.” The decision was taken as per the call given by the National Convention of Workers on November 11, to organise a general strike during the budget session of the parliament. 

The state units of the joint platform have resolved to carry out intensive campaign jointly through various forms such as state conventions, human chains, torchlight processions, signature campaigns, sectoral and area-based joint campaign and agitation etc to expose the consequences of the anti-worker, anti-farmer, anti-people, pro-corporate and anti-national destructive policies by the Government of India which have brought the lives and livelihood of the entire people and also the country’s economy to the brink of disaster. Already many struggles and agitations are going on in many sectors on the same issues at the initiative of the constituents of the joint platform.

The joint platform has also welcomed the decision of two-days countrywide strike in banks on December 16-17 as decided by the United Forum of Bank Unions and also the strike decision by Electricity Employees’ Joint Forum on February 1, both the strikes being against the privatisation move and retrograde legislative moves in that direction. 

“Our United Struggle is not only to save the rights and lives/livelihood of people but also save the country’s economy and the entire democratic system and the society as a whole from disaster and destruction being engineered by the authoritarian forces in governance with the active support of private corporations, both domestic and foreign and decisively defeat the disastrous policy regime and their political operators in governance,” the joint platform said in a statement issued on December 6.

The joint platform said that the farmers' movement has made a historic victory by forcing the arrogant Modi government to repeal the three farm laws. “Now the cross-sections of the working people must heighten their united intervention further to demand a halt to this assault on lives and livelihood, employment, the alarming intensity of impoverishment and hunger, assault on democracy and also the unity of the people and thereby save our dear nation from disaster,” they said.

They have declared the 12 demands of the strike including scrapping the Labour Codes and the Essential Defense Services Act (EDSA). They also demanded the government to accept the six-point charter of demands, post repeal of farm laws, of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha. 

The joint platform demanded the government to go back on its privatisation and National Monetisation Pipeline moves. Food and income support of Rs 7,500 per month to non-income taxpaying households, increased allocation for MNREGA and extension of employment guarantee scheme to urban areas and universal social security for all informal sector workers were among the charter of demands laid down by the workers. 

Statutory minimum wage and social security for Anganwadi, ASHA, Mid-day-meal and other Scheme workers; proper protection and insurance facilities for frontline workers serving the people in the midst of pandemic and increased public investment in agriculture, education, health and other crucial public utilities by taxing the rich through wealth tax etc in order to revive and revamp the national economy are also among the major demands. 

The other demands include a substantial reduction in central excise duty on petroleum products and concrete remedial measures to arrest price rise and regularisation of contract workers,  scheme workers and equal pay for equal work for all and cancellation of National Pension Scheme and restoration of old pension; a substantial increase in minimum pension under Employees’ Pension Scheme. 

They demanded all political parties of the nation to incorporate ‘protection of right to work, living wage, free quality health-care and education-facility to all citizens and all legitimate constitutional rights’ as a firm commitment in their political manifestos for the coming assembly elections in 2022 and for the elections scheduled for 2024 and take oath publicly to fulfill their assurances and to support the demands of workers, farmers and all people of the country if they come to power.

Intensification of the united struggle consistently to defeat the anti-people policies and the regime is the way before us, they said.