Around 25 crore people are expected to join the countrywide strike on January 8 called by ten central trade unions to protest against the government's "anti-people" policies. The ten unions — INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC — as well as various sectoral independent federations and associations had adopted a declaration in September last to go on a nationwide strike on January 8, 2020.
"We expect participation of not less than 25 crore of working people in the forthcoming National General Strike on January 8, 2020, to be followed by many more actions seeking reversal of the anti-worker, anti-people, anti-national policies of the Government. The Ministry of Labour has failed to assure on any of the demands of workers which called a meeting on January 2, 2020. The attitude of the government is that of contempt towards labour as we construe from its policies and actions," the 10 central trade unions (CTUs) said in a joint statement.
Apart from trade unions, about 60 organisations of students and elected office bearers of some universities will also be joining the strike with an agenda to raise voice against increased fee structure and commercialisation of education, the statement said.
The trade unions condemned the JNU violence and similar incidents in other university campuses and expressed their solidarity with students and teachers all over India.
The unions also expressed displeasure over no Indian Labour Conference being held since July 2015, codification of labour laws and privatisation of PSUs.
"As many as 12 airports are already sold out to private hands, 100 per cent sale of Air India is already decided, decision to sell BPCL taken, BSNL-MTNL merger announced and 93,600 telecom workers already thrown out of jobs under the garb of VRS (voluntary retirement scheme)," it added.
The unions are also against privatisation in railways, corporatisation of 49 defence production units and forced merger of banks.
Joint platform of more than 175 farmers and agricultural workers unions will extend its support to workers' demands and observe January 8 as Gramin Bharart Bandh along with their charter of demands, they added.
Bankers, insurers to join strike
Major unions in the Indian banking sector have decided to participate in the National General Strike called by central trade unions on January 8, 2020, said a top leader of All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA).
AIBEA general secretary C.H. Venkatachalam said in a statement that 10 central trade unions have given a National General Strike call for January 8 protesting against the anti-labour policies of the Central government and demanding job security, job creation, stop adversely amending labour laws and others.
According to Venkatachalam, in the banking Sector, the call has been jointly given by five unions i.e. AIBEA, AIBOA, BEFI, INBEF and INBOC.
In addition, employees of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Co-operative Banks, Regional Rural Banks (RRB), Life Insurance Corporation of India and General Insurance sector are also joining the strike, he added.
Shiv Sena to join Left-supported Jan 8 all-India strike
For the first time, the ruling ally in Maharashtra Shiv Sena will join the proposed all-India strike on January 8 called by Leftist parties, affiliated trade unions and different workers organisations.
Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, who attended a press conference along with various Leftist unions heads and Communist leaders on Friday, announced the party's decision to fully support and join the strike called for various demands of the working classes.
He said that in Maharashtra, there is a Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress alliance Maha Vikas Aghadi government which is supported by the working classes.
MDMK, DMK to support Jan 8 strike by trade unions
The MDMK, DMK have expressed their support for the January 8 nationwide strike announced by the trade unions to protest against the anti-labour policies of the Centre.
In a statement issued in Chennai on Monday, MDMK general secretary Vaiko said the party has extended its support to the strike.
The DMK President M.K. Stalin in a statement said his party extends its support to the nationwide strike by trade unions pressing for 14 demands.
Stalin said the BJP-led government at the Centre, instead of protecting the workers' rights, is focused on snatching them.
Mamata govt to oppose January 8 strike
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said her government would oppose the January 8 strike called by the Central Trade Unions (CTUs) even though it supported the issues they have raised.
The strike has been called by ten CTUs along with various sectoral independent federations and associations demanding scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the National Population Register (NPR) and a proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) besides a 12-charter of economic demands.
"There will be no strike or bandh (shutdown) in Bengal. What is the benefit of strikes and shutdowns? We want you all to continue a democratic movement," Banerjee said at Gangasagar in 24 Parganas South district.
The Chief Minister said her government was opposed to strikes or shutdowns. "Since the time we came to power, we have not backed bandhs, though we have supported the issues. Our protest will continue. We are on the side of the citizens, for the rights of the citizens. But why should we go for a strike?" she said.
"As it is the country is incurring economic losses. If on top of that a strike is organised, there will be a loss of thousands of crores of rupees. The country will suffer," she told mediapersons.
Banerjee said she did not want the people to be inconvenienced.
Banerjee and her party have launched a vigorous movement against the NRC, the CAA and the NPR by holding processions, rallies, street corners, public meetings across the state.
She has also time and again appealed to all parties and students and youths to join forces so as to launch a joint struggle against the centre's BJP led NDA government.
-with inputs from agencies