**Bhubaneswar:** The Left affiliated Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has begun its two-day nationwide general strike today to protest against “anti-labour, anti-people and anti-national policies” of the Modi government.
All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch, Bhumi Adhikar Andolan and several government unions have extended support to the strike that will see demonstrations, rasta roko and rail roko, especially in the rural parts of the country.
In a press release, the CITU said the BJP government had made “desperate attempts” to make “gross pro-employer changes in labour laws” ignoring the viewpoints of trade unions.
“Unilaterally and through arbitrary notification on fixed term employment through executive order on the one hand and through gradual replacement of workers by apprentices in various establishments on the other, the very concept of regular employment and job security is being sought to be wiped out from the workplaces,” it said.
“Now the Cabinet has come out with amendments in the Trade Union Act, 1926, which are irrational, highly discretionary and extremely damaging to the independent functioning of unions. It is designed with the dubious intention to cripple unions, to promote pocket unions or tout unions.”
The CITU also took a dig at the FDI policy, saying it was aimed at “looting the national assets and resources on the one hand and destruction of country’s economic base on the other”. Critical of the Modi government’s policy of ‘Make in India’, CITU has alleged that the government has been killing the work culture of the country’s public sectors by favouring major contracts of manufacturing works to private players.
Anurag Saxena, general secretary of Delhi unit of the CITU, said public sector employees, unorganised sector workers, port and dock workers, bank and insurance employees would participate in the protest march against growing economic crisis, price rise and acute unemployment.
AIKS said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had betrayed all promises he had made to farmers made before the 2014 elections.
AIKS President Ashok Dhawale said the BJP rule of past four-and-half-year had witnessed “aggressive pursuit” of neo-liberal economic policies, which mounted burden on the farmers and labour force.
“The peasantry is being dispossessed and forced to sell its labour in the unorganised sector under precarious conditions. This situation calls for greater coordinated actions between the working class and the peasantry,” the release quoted Dhawale as saying.
This is the 18th nationwide general strike against the alleged anti-worker policies. CITU said the main aim of their 12-point charter of demands is to revive the country’s economy, save the rights of working class.
Ten trade unions who have jointly called for the nationwide general strike are INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, AICCTU, UTUC, TUCC, LPF and SEWA. Farmers too will join road jam, demonstration, protest meetings throughout the country and register their disenchantment with the government and its policies.
Banking services across the country are also likely to be affected on January 8-9 due to a nationwide strike, notice for which was served on Saturday by the All India Bank Employees Association (AlBEA) and the Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI).
While Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has also extended its support to the bandh, it has also planned one-day ‘dharna’ in Delhi today, which will be attended by its leader and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, to demand higher MSP for paddy.
(With IANS Inputs)