Ten central trade unions on Monday announced a two-day countrywide general strike on February 23 and 24 of 2022 against the “anti-people, anti-worker and anti-national destructive policies” of the Narendra Modi government with a slogan “Save the People and Save the Nation”.
It also decided to hold joint preparatory public meetings in coordination with the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) leadership, especially in the states that are scheduled for polls in the beginning of 2022, to strengthen the call of “Mission UP” and “Mission Uttarakhand” given by the protesting farmers.
The decisions were taken at a meeting of the Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions and independent sectoral All India Federations and Associations in the national capital on Sunday.
A national workers’ convention on November 11 had said that the trade unions would go in for a two-day strike during the next Budget Session, with the dates to be decided later.
Referring to the repeal of the farm laws, it said the farmers’ movement has “snatched a historic victory by forcing the arrogant government” to repeal the contentious laws.
Over its current plans, it said that “cross-sections of the working people must heighten their united intervention further” demanding a “halt to the process of assault on lives and livelihood, employment, alarming intensity of impoverishment and hunger, assault on democracy and also unity of the people and thereby, save our dear nation from disaster”.
The trade unions said the repeal of farm laws and marginal reduction in central taxes on petrol and diesel in the face of “determined long-drawn united struggles” by the farmers along with countrywide solidarity actions by people demonstrating rising popular anger and unrest is also a “reflection-cum-reaction under compulsion of the debacle” faced by the BJP in the recent by-elections.
Alleging that the government has brought the lives and livelihood of the people and also the country’s economy to the “brink of disaster”, the unions said the intensification of the “united struggle in continuity determined to combat and defeat the anti-people policies and the regime is the way before us” and “let that determination be demonstrated” during the general strike.
The demands of the ten central trade unions, INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC, include scrapping the Labour Codes, scrapping of Essential Defence Services Act, acceptance of the six-point charter of demands of the SKM, doing away with privatisation in any form and scrapping of National Monetisation Pipeline, food and income support of Rs 7,500 per month to non-income taxpaying households and increased allocation for MNREGA and extension of Employment Guarantee Scheme to urban areas, among others.
It is also demanding universal social security for all informal sector 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 a pandemic and an increase in public investment in agriculture, education, health and other crucial public utilities by taxing the rich through wealth tax in order to revive and revamp the national economy.
Substantial reduction in central excise duty on petroleum products and concrete remedial measure to arrest price rise, regularisation of contract workers, scheme workers and equal pay for equal work for all, cancellation of National Pension Scheme and restoration of old pension and substantial increase in minimum pension under Employees’ Pension Scheme are also among the demands.
In the run-up to the general strike, the unions and associations will organise state conventions, human chains, torchlight processions, signature campaigns, sectoral and area-based joint campaigns and agitations to expose the consequences of the “anti-worker, anti-farmer, anti–people, pro-corporate and anti-national destructive policies” by Modi government.
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