India: Mass general strike across the country
New Socialist Alternative (CWI in India) 2 September 2016
Fight must go on for minimum wage and against labour law ‘reform’
Today millions of workers have been participating in a general strike in India, called by all the major trade unions. Among many of their demands, workers are calling for a minimum wage of no less than Rs 18 000 (£180) per month, enhanced pensions and an end to all attacks on the country’s labour laws. New Socialist Alternative (CWI) in India campaigns for a minimum wage of Rs100 per hour(£1) and fully supports the strike. In its leaflet, reproduced below, it says that a strategy and plans have to be made to make sure that the struggle continues until the demands are achieved. BATTLE LINES ARE DRAWN - WAR AHEAD - FIGHT TO WIN! It is exactly a year ago, on 2nd September, more than 100 million working people of this landmass called India, went on a tremendous show of collective bargaining strength, through a General Strike. Here we are again to strike at the disastrous policies of this Modi led, NDA government, which has failed in all spheres of economic, social and political life of commoners in this country. The Modi administration is busy building ’castles in the air’ of bullet trains, BRICS banks and of course not to forget the chimera of becoming a Super Power, but the ground reality is staring at India’s face.
Be it the UPA of the past or the present NDA, they only represent the Capitalist-Landlord classes and their interests, they have not only ignored the working people and the oppressed but have exploited them to the core, to create and become dollar billionaires. The ruling elite take pride in rolling out the figures of wealth amidst the stark poverty of the masses, that shows the impunity with which they treat the real creators of wealth; the working people. While the neo-liberalist governments of both BJP & Congress and their media houses, often boast about the wealth creation in this country, but go into stone silence about POVERTY-SQUALOR-DESEASE-MALNUTRITION- UNEMPLOYMENT & STARVATION WAGES .
They count with pride the growing number of dollar millionaires in India, which stood at 2.5 lakh, and greedily predict that India will have 4.37 lakh millionaires by 2018, and double that number by 2023. In contrast to these lavish riches, India now has a greater share of the world’s poorest than it did thirty years ago. Then it was home to one fifth of the world’s poorest people, but today it accounts for one-third - 400 million.
While the number of millionaires and billionaires have increased , most of rural and urban poor of India still languished in poverty — the highest paid member of 74.5 % of rural households in India earned less than Rs. 5,000 per month.
Starvation Wages has to end now!
The working people of India are entirely justified in demanding higher wages, from the presently pathetic Rs.246/-per day. The Joint Trade Union body has arrived at a figure of Rs.18,000 per month as the demand, indeed in these days of high inflation and reduced purchasing capacity of the rupee, it is imperative that at least a ₹Rs.100/- an hour as a liveable minimum wage across all sections of the working people, is a fair and fighting demand.
Threatened with the resolve of the working masses under the banner of Joint Trade Unions, to go ahead with the strike, the BJP govt. has come up with the pathetic figure of ₹ Rs.350/- per day, which is not even binding to be implemented by all the state govts., combined with this the Modi govt. is proposing outlandish and regressive “reforms” in Labour laws flouting all International Labour clauses.
Enough is Enough - Strike We Will!
The women garment workers of Bangalore in April this year, have shown us the path as to what is possible when the real creators of wealth take to struggle and fight. The so called mighty Modi administration had to eat the dust and hurriedly roll back the retrograde “reforms” to PF rules. The workers of Maruthi-Suzuki, Honda(Rajasthan), Bosch-Mico(Bangalore), PRICOL workers of Tamil Nadu, etc., are all the pioneers in opposing the retrograde policies of Modi’s capitalist administration.
We need to rally in unity to realise all our demands, and we can win if we realise the vast potential of our class, if united. It is our disunity that provides the ruling class of this country a stick to beat us with impunity and dictate their terms by dividing us eternally through various ploys.
Question every answer!
It is proven beyond any doubt that the capitalism has miserably failed in solving the fundamental problems of poverty, illiteracy, squalor, disease unemployment, landlessness & housing. To cover its incapacity it continues to discriminate us by caste, class, language, gender, sexuality, regional and national identity to keep us divided from uniting in common struggle against capitalism. In fact its greed for profits is threatening the very ecological balance of earth. Environmental concerns can not be left to these “specialists” whose priorities are wealth over welfare, profit over people, greed over green.
Capitalism shows no way out; a fighting, militant, combative approach is necessary in day-to-day struggles of the working class which must & should collaborate with the struggles of Dalits and Adivasis, Women, urban & rural poor, fisher people, for a stronger alliance linked to the idea of the socialist transformation of society.
*Restore PDS:Annulling the PDS is the biggest crime that the previous Congress government initiated and now the Modi led BJP is further attacking the poor and the vulnerable by drastically cutting down all subsidies. *Make in India is sham, the cruellest joke played by sloganeering Modi on the youth of this country, provide real jobs with decent liveable wages. *Catering to the rapacious and greedy needs of both domestic and MNC’s the Modi government is out to destroy all norms and clauses that we have fought for over the last decades. Say no to retrograde Labour Reforms *Decent and Liveable Minimum wage of at least Rs.18,000/- per month, (The New Socialist Alternative (CWI- India) is engaged in the campaign initiative of Fight for Rs.100/- per Hr. Living Minimum Wage). * Re-nationalise all those public sector industries & services which have been privatised by UPA & NDA. * Since the advent of Modi-BJP to power the murderous attacks on Dalits, Muslim and other vulnerable sections have increased hundred fold. The working class & Trade unions must oppose & resist Caste-ism & Communalism with all its might.