The Indian government had been slowly privatising all the state banks in recent years. While canceling the debt of the super rich and changing various laws and regulations to aid the private banking system the government also continued to attack the workers’ conditions, wages, and union rights. This had resulted in a number of militant struggles by bank workers. Workers in Catholic Syrian Bank Limited (CSB) are also planning a number of actions in the coming month. What had taken place with CSB sheds light on the horrific situation that all bank workers are facing in general.
India’s Working Class resolutely flexes its Strength
Despite the widespread repression under this blatantly right-wing BJP-Modi regime, the all India General Strike on 26 November by working people involving more than 250 million workers (Joint Committee of Trade Unions- JCTU have claimed the number as 300 million-plus) seems to have set the tone for the battles ahead.
Labour “reforms” – India goes back in time
Given the COVID-19 situation, though not with the same enthusiasm, nevertheless the entire world celebrated workers May Day recently. Ironically, here in India in the same month of May, antithetical to the ideal of May Day the major states of India moved to destroy the hard-won gains of the working class. The states ruled by BJP have amended the labour laws heavily favouring the capitalist class. The other state governments in India are also planning to implement these draconian changes in labour laws.
Image Courtesy: Economic Times
Corona is certainly a dangerous Virus but the reason it has turned into a pandemic is certainly the making of capitalism. Decades of reckless policies of neo-liberalism led to constant neglect of public health care services to facilitate entry and expansion of private capital. It has turned even the basic health facilities into a profiteering business.
The fundamental antagonism between the interests of the capital and that of people has been most glaringly brought to the fore by the Supreme Court judgement last week (8th April) mandating testing of Corona cases to be carried out free of charge. Now even this decision has been reversed at the behest of central government paving the way for private labs to charge hefty money for Corona testing. This could have grave consequences considering acute lack of testing facilities on the one side and intense economic misery faced by the majority of India’s population. It is on this backdrop that many organizations and trade unions in Maharashtra came together to protest such a scandalous move by the central government demanding the immediate take over of private Hospitals and Laboratories.
This protest campaign initiated by New Socialist Alternative has produced a joint statement endorsed by participating Trade Unions and Peoples’ Organisations. We appeal to all Trade Unions, Left forces and progressive organisations across the country to endorse this joint appeal and help build a struggle against the bosses system that is out to profit out of peoples misery.
Undoubtedly, the 8th January 2020 General Strike, was a huge success numerically. The overall participation in the strike of 250 million last week was an increase of 30 million from 220 million in 2019. Inevitably, both the state and the administration across the country worked overtime to see that the visible impact of this collective class action was minimal.