Indian unions mobilize thousands of workers to protest anti-worker policies of Modi government

15.11.2017

Intensifying protests against the Modi government, Indian unions held massive three-day demonstrations in front of the parliament on 9-11 November in Delhi.

The massive gathering was a reaction to the governments faint response to a 12-points charter of demands presented by the unions on 7 November.

Workers’ demands include urgent measures to contain price rises, a strict enforcement of labour laws, universal social security cover for all workers, increased minimum wages, pension for all workers, as well as the ratification ILO convention 87 and 98 on freedom of association and collective bargaining.

The government of India’s “reckless policies of demonetization and hasty implementation of goods and service tax (GST), has led to job losses and price raise,” according to a statement by the unions.

The last three years have seen workers’ real wages have go down, and India has witnessed decline in employment. The government is also going ahead with anti-worker labor law amendments, privatization of public sector utilities including defence equipment manufacturing units and railways.

The demonstrations concluded with the resolution that, if there is no change in government attitude, the central trade unions will explore a countrywide national indefinite strike.

In the meantime, the unions decided on the following actions:

  • Complete joint district level conventions by the first week of January 2018
  • District level Satyagraha in the last week of January
  • Sectoral and industry level joint strike actions to resist privatization
  • Protest anti-workers measures in forthcoming union budget

IndustriALL Global Union, at its Executive Committee meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 8-9 November 2017, passed a resolution in solidarity with its affiliates in India and the Indian trade union movement in their struggle to defend workers’ rights.