by Lekan Olanrewaju
Industrial workers in India have embarked on what is now described as “one of the biggest strikes ever”. 100,000,000 workers joined the strike which has resulted in a ‘complete shutdown’ of banking in Mumbai. Transport and postal services have also been hit by the strike which involves workers from different sectors.
The workers are demanding a national minimum wage, permanent jobs for contract labourers, social security for informal labourers, pensions for all workers, intervention by the government to stop the rising costs of living, and ending of the sell off of publicly owned companies amongst other demands
Libcom blogger, working class self organization reported in January:
“Over a dozen of India’s largest trade unions have called for and signed up to the strike. The strike will affect many sectors, including public sector banks, ports and docks, railways, insurance, road transport, energy workers, miners, and aviation workers.
“Recent months have seen a mounting wave of militant worker struggles in India, strikes for union recognition in India’s expanding auto sector, including a two-day occupation of a Hyundai plant, a wildcat strike by Air India personnel, and walkouts by telecom workers and coal miners against the central government’s privatization plans.”
The different unions have a variety of different demands, hey include gaining the same rights and protection for temporary and contract workers that permanent workers have, raising and extending the minimum wage, resisting the attacks on trade unions, stopping price rises, the creation of a national social security fund, increase in pensions, and combating corruption.”
100 arrests were reportedly made yesterday morning for obstructing traffic and police are said to have been deployed to try to prevent ‘unlawful’ picketing.