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Indian workers strike back against Modi government’s anti-worker policies

8 January, 2020The nation-wide strike on 8 January witnessed the massive participation of over 250 million working people across India. In many states protesting workers were detained, but the strike remained peaceful.

The resentment against the Modi government and its anti-worker policies was evident as workers mobilized in large number throughout India. The joint trade union press release claimed that many provincial states in India, the strike was fully observed, while in some states there was a total industrial strike.

Sanjay Vadhavkar addresses a rally on 8 January

IndustriALL India affiliates held joint protest demonstrations in the states of Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Orissa and in many others.

Valter Sanches, general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union said,

“IndustriALL congratulates its Indian affiliates and the Indian trade union movement for mobilizing millions of workers and organizing a massively successful strike. In this genuine struggle to defend the rights of their members, IndustriALL stand shoulder to shoulder with the unions in India.”

Earlier in a letter to the Prime Minister of India, Valter Sanches expressed serious concern over declining economic development, the rising retrenchment of workers across the country and a worsening employment crisis. He underlined that the charter of demands of the Indian trade union movement attempts to provide solutions to the problems of working people and called upon the government of India to immediately address the demands. He also sent a message of solidarity to Indian affiliates and urged IndustriALL affiliates around the world to support them.

Dr. G Sanjeeva Reddy, IndustriALL executive committee member and the president of INTUC said:

“It is a very successful strike with full support from workers in organized and unorganized sectors and in rural and urban areas. We hope the government starts the discussion with the central trade unions to resolve our demands. If the government continues its intransigence, we are left with no option except to intensify workers’ struggle. The future course of action will be decided jointly by all trade unions.”

Sanjay Vadhavkar addresses a rally on 8 January

Sanjay Vadhavkar, IndustriALL executive committee member and general secretary of SMEFI said:

“Workers active participation in the strike showed their anger against the government’s anti-worker policies. More importantly, todays strike was joined by different sections of people all over the country. The government should change its course and address trade unions demands. If not, the government has to face strong resistance from workers.”

The strike was jointly organized by central trade unions INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC. Financial sector associations and a large number of independent workers organizations participated in the strike. More importantly, the general strike also witnessed broad-based alliances with farmers, agricultural workers, students and teachers.