February 28: Massive strike in India
Posted by redpines on February 10, 2012
Workers in India’s cities have an incredibly militant history, and the current moment is hardly different. Now India’s trade union leaders are planning a massive strike on February 28. The following article, however, prompts questions: how well will revolutionary unions, reformist trade unions, and unions with Muslim members coordinate with unions affiliated with right-wing parties like Congress and the Hindu nationalist BJP? Will the strike present further opportunities for collaboration between revolutionary forces in the cities and rural scheduled castes and tribal peoples? Will the strike be effective in exposing the rotten foundations of India’s “shining democracy” to the world?
Readers who are closer to these issues are encouraged to post their thoughts and clarifying information.
The article originally appeared at The Hindu.
TUs gear for all-India strike
by Sunny Sebastian
February 5, 2012
Senior Communist Party of India leader and All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) general secretary Gurudas Dasgupta has termed the joint strike call by the trade unions on February 28 as the biggest show of unity by the working class and the poor.
All the leading trade unions, including the INTUC (Indian National Trade Union Congress), affiliated to the Congress, and the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh of the Bharatiya Janata Party, besides the Left unions — the CITU (Centre for Indian Trade Unions) and the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) — will participate in the strike.
“It is not these unions alone. The Shiv Sena’s trade union in Maharashtra and the Muslim League-affiliated trade union in Kerala too have extended their support to the strike call. Besides the national level organisations, hundreds of unaffiliated unions and local unions are going on strike, which could be termed the biggest in the recent times,” Mr. Dasgupta said.
Mr. Dasgupta was in the Rajasthan capital on Friday along with Sanjeev Reddy, MP and president of INTUC; B.N. Roy, general secretary of BMS; and Tapan Sen, MP and general secretary of CITU, to mobilise the cadres and workers for the strike.
“This is perhaps for the first time the leaders of major trade unions are travelling together all over the country in the run-up to the strike,” Mr. Dasgupta noted. “We have kept the strike outside the purview of politics for the sake of trade union unity.”
The union leaders have so far toured Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. They would be visiting Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh in the coming days, the CPI leader said.
The “growing misery” of the common people, low wages, 10-hour working days under miserable working conditions, job cuts, huge unemployment and growing number of contract labour/jobs were given as the reason for calling the strike. “This is only a wake up call. This is a warning signal to the United Progressive Alliance government, whose policies of neo-capitalism have brought about this situation in the country,” Mr. Dasgupta said.
He said that while the government had no time for the workers, it could hold talks on crisis management with Kingfisher airlines, which was facing a financial problem.
“We have been trying to have a dialogue with the authorities for the past month and a half, but nobody paid heed. In fact, Parliament too failed to carry out its responsibility to the trade unions,” Mr. Dasgupta, a sitting member of the Rajya Sabha, alleged.