Millions of Workers Across India Strike Against Labor Reforms

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Millions of workers across India held a 24-hour strike on September 2nd in protest against planned labor law reforms

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India – Unions say labor reforms planned by Modi’s government will put jobs at risk, and are demanding it scrap changes that would make it easier to lay off workers and shut down unproductive factories.

Gurudas Dasgupta, the secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress, said the response by workers on Wednesday had been “magnificent” and estimated more than 150 million workers participated in the strike.

Terming the All India general strike called by central trade unions (CTUs) “a great success”, Left parties today congratulated the protesters for staging “one of the biggest” demonstrations of working class against Centre’s alleged anti-labor policies.

“Great success I should say. (The response) was more than expected. It is one of the biggest actions of working class and manifestation of their unity against anti-labor policies of Government,” CPI General secretary S Sudhakar Reddy told PTI.

The strike was “successful” despite Centre trying to “dissuade” workers from proceeding with the agitation at the eleventh minute, the CPI(M) said.

“Apart from dissuading RSS-affiliated Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, they could not succeed in dissuading any other CTU from proceeding with the strike,” the party said in a statement.

The CPI(M) accused Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal of unleashing terror and mounting “murderous” physical attacks on union leaders. It claimed local police mercilessly beat up the protesters and arrested hundreds on fabricated charges. “Despite this, people of West Bengal confronted such terror and observed a virtual state-level hartal,” the CPI(M) statement claimed. The Left parties said CTUs will now wait for Government’s response to the “eye opener” strike before deciding on a future course of action. “We have to wait now to see what their (Government’s) reaction is. If they are ready for discussion … Otherwise we will go for longer protest, bigger action,” Reddy warned.

Normal life was affected in various parts of the country, including West Bengal, Tripura, Kerala and Karnataka, as 10 CTUs today went on day-long nationwide strike to protest against changes in labour laws and privatisation of PSUs. The strike affected transport, banking operations and other services in various parts of the country.



Trade unions’ 12-point charter of demands also included urgent measures to contain price rise, contain unemployment, strict enforcement of basic labour laws, universal social security cover for all workers and minimum wage of Rs 15,000 per month.

CPI national secretary D Raja claimed all sectors including banking, coal, transport were at the forefront of the strike and the “massive and tremendous” response to the protest sends a “clear” message to the Government that it can’t undermine the voice of working class.

“Now, the future line of action all depends on Government’s response. Government can’t deceit people with rhetoric like ‘Make in India’. Who is going to ‘Make in India’? It is the labour class. So, the Government can’t ignore their rights,” Raja asserted.

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