Posts Tagged ‘CG Employees Strike 2019’

NATIONWIDE STRIKE – To Scrap NPS and To Restore OPS

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NATIONWIDE STRIKE – To  Scrap  NPS  and  To  Restore  OPS
SCRAP-NPS-RESTORE-OPS-Central-Govt-Employees
2019 JANUARY 8th & 9th HISTORIC TWO DAYS NATIONWIDE STRIKE AND OUR FUTURE TASK

M.Krishnan
Secretary General
Confederation of Central Govt. Employees & workers

WE SHALL NOT STOP, TILL OUR GOAL IS ACHIEVED

WE SHALL MARCH TOWARS BIGGER STRUGGLE IN THE COMING DAYS

TO SCRAP NPS & TO RESTORE OPS

TO DEFEAT THE PERPETRATORS OF DISASTROUS NEO-LIBERAL POLICIES

Congratulations and big salute to all those leaders and workers who worked tirelessly and organised the most wide-spread and largely participated two days nationwide strike under the banner of Confederation, which is the vanguard of the Central Government employees movement.

Central Government employees had created history again. The two days nationwide strike on 2019 January 8th & 9th was not only widespread but a thundering and magnificent success in all respect, surpassing all the recent past strikes in percentage of participation. Of course, there was weakness in some sections and in some areas, but that didn’t affect the overall success and impact of the strike.

When the dominant leadership of the JCM National Council staffside and National Joint Council of Action (NJCA) ie., Railway Federations, are reluctant to go on strike against the betrayal of the BJP-led NDA Government on Minimum Pay & Fitment formula, NPS, Option-I of Pensioners, HRA arrears etc, inspite of the fact that Confederation and Defence Federation has authorised the Railway Federations leadership to serve strike notice reviving the deferred indefinite strike of 2016 July 11th, it is Confederation, Confederation alone, has shown its commitment to the cause of the 32 lakhs Central Government employees and 33 lakhs Central Govt. Civilian Pensioners, by organising two days historic strike along with the 20 crores workers of Indian working Class.

Confederation organised one day strike on 12-12-2012 and two days strike on 2014 February 13th & 14th demanding appointment of 7th Central Pay Commission, One day strike on 16-03-2017 demanding scrapping of NPS and honouring of assurance given by Group of Ministers and one day strikes on 2nd September 2015 and 2016 along with the mainstream of the working class against the neo-liberal economic policies. We decided to go on strike, demanding 10 points charter of demands of which the first and the main demand is “Scrap NPS & Restore OPS” in the mass convention of Central Government employees held at Hyderabad on 10th June 2018. Intensive campaign for the strike started from July 2018 onwards.

The message of the two days strike went to every nook and corner of the country and reached almost all central Govt. Offices and employees including Gramin Dak Sevaks, Casual/Contract Workers and Autonomous body employees and Pensioners. We are proud that we have stood with the workers and peasants of our country as a class-oriented militant trade union and Confederation represents the hope and aspirations of lakhs and lakhs of Central Government Employees and Central Govt. Civilian Pensioners.

NDA GOVERNMENT AND CENTRAL GOVT. EMPLOYEES – OUR EXPERIENCE:

(1) NEW CONTRIBUTORY PENSION SCHEME (NPS):
Everyone of us is aware that it is the previous BJP-led NDA Government which introduced the NPS in 2003 through a Gazette Notification dated 22nd December 2003, to all new entrants recruited on or after 01-01-2004. We are also aware that the Congress-led UPA-II Government passed the PFRDA Bill in Parliament to legalise NPS, with the full support of opposition BJP MPs in 2013 and thereafter PFRDA Act came into effect from 18th September 2013. Only 43 MPs of Left Parties, TMC, JDU, BSP, SP & RJD opposed the bill in Lok Sabha against 125 votes of Congress & BJP. In Rajya Sabha 25 MPs opposed while 115 supported. Confederation along with All India State Govt. Employees Federation (AISGEF) conducted series of agitational programmes against NPS from 2003 onwards including National Convention, Parliament March, signature campaign and strikes.

7th Central Pay Commission headed by Shri. Ashok Kumar Mathur, Retired Justice of Supreme Court of India, in Para 1.24 of its Report made the following observations:

“Almost a whole lot of Central Government employees appointed on or after 01-01-2004 were unhappy with the New Pension Scheme. While National Pension System (NPS) did not form a part of our Terms of Reference; we have recorded the sentiments of the affected employees. The Government should take a call and step into to look into their demands”.

In Para 10.03.11, the 7th CPC again made the following comments:

“The larger Federations and Staff Associations advocated scrapping of the NPS on the ground that it discriminate between two sets of Government employees. Individuals covered under NPS have pleaded for reverting to Old Pension Scheme (OPS) on the grounds of uncertainty regarding the actual value of their future pension, on the face of market related risks.”

Naturally, in tune with the recommendations of 7th CPC, when the NDA Govt. decided to appoint a High Level Committee called “NPS Committee”, the Central Government employees, especially the younger generation, expected that their anxiety and concerns will be taken into account by the Central Government and NPS will be scraped and OPS will be restored. But the final decision of the Government not to scrap NPS but only to increase the percentage of contribution by the Government from 10% to 14% was a great blow to the NPS employees. Their hopes are shattered, “their legitimate aspirations are guillotined” and a situation is created where their “hopes ended in despair”.

Their hope faded further when Shri. Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, in his letter dated 3rd January 2019 addressed to Shri. Nitin Gadkari, another Cabinet Minister in the NDA Government, justified the continuation of NPS as follows:

“NPS is expected to provide old age income security to subscribers besides providing capital for the social and economic development of the economy”.

The final blow came when the NDA Government made its stand clear without any ambiguity in a reply dated 25-12-2018 given in Parliament stating that – “Representations have been received which inter-alia also include the demand that Government may revert to Old defined benefit pension system. However, due to the rising and unsustainable pension bill and competing claims on the fiscal, there is no proposal to replace the National Pension System (NPS) with Old Pension System (OPS) in respect of Central Govt. employees recruited on or after 01-01-2004″.

During the past 2-3 years many NPS employees, mainly Gramin Dak Sevaks and Casual Labourers promoted to departmental posts after 01-01-2004 (as their previous service is not treated as regular service) and also aged dependents of deceased employees who got compassionate appointment after 01-01-2004 etc, retired from service after completing 10 to 13 years service. Their Annuity Pension under NPS is Rs.700/- to Rs.2700/- maximum per month, thus confirming our apprehension that “NPS is nothing but No Pension System”.

Unlike the BJP led NDA Government at the Centre, certain State Governments understood the seriousness of the situation and they have declared that they want to scrap NPS. (Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu during Jayaalitha’s time, Karnataka and Kerala Governments). Some of them appointed expert Review Committees to work out modalities for coming out of NPS. From the stand taken by the above State Governments it can be seen that it is the political stand of the ruling party that matter. At the centre, it is the political stand of the Political Party ruling the country which is crucial.

2. Minimum Pay and Fitment Formula:

After the continuous struggle by Confederation including strikes from 2011 onwards, the then UPA Government was compelled to announce appointment of 7th Central Pay Commission. Gujarat State Government objected the decision of the UPA Government to appoint 7th CPC. Shri. Narendra Modiji was the Chief Minister of Gujarat at that time. After coming to power at the Centre in 2014, the BJP led NDA Govt. made deliberate attempt and intervention to delay and deny the legitimate demands of the Central Govt. employees and Pensioners including the demands relating to Minimum Pay, Fitment Formula, HRA from 01-01-2016, Option-I for pensioners etc.

When the entire Central Government employees ,under the banner of National Joint Council of Action (NJCA) decided to go on indefinite strike from 11th July, 2016 a Group of Cabinet Ministers including Shri. Rajnath Singh, Home Minister, Shri. Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister and the then Railway Minister Shri. Suresh Prabhu, gave categorical assurance on 30-06-2016 that Minimum Pay and Fitment formula will be increased and for that purpose a High Level Committee will be constituted. Even after a lapse of 2½ years neither High Level Committee was constituted nor Minimum Pay and Fitment Formula is increased.

The Finance Ministry in its Lok Sabha reply dated 11-12-2018, categorically stated as follows:

“The fitment factor for the purpose of fixation of pay in the revised pay structure, based on the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission is 2.57 which is uniformly applicable to all categories of employees. As the same is based on the specific and considered recommendations of the 7th CPC, no change ,thereon is envisaged”.

Thus the BJP led NDA Government has betrayed 32 lakhs Central Govt. employees and 33 lakhs Central Govt. Civilian Pensioners. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Bhupendra Nath Hazarika and Another Vs. State of Assam and others (reported in 2013(2)Sec.516) observed as follows, which is quoted by 7th CPC in its preface –

“It should always be borne in mind that legitimate aspirations of the employees are not guillotined and a situation is not created where hopes end in despair. Hope for everyone is gloriously precious and that a model employer should not convert it to be deceitful and treacherous…… A sense of calm sensibility and concerned sincerity should be reflected in every step. An atmosphere of trust has to prevail and when the employees are absolutely sure that their trust shall not be betrayed and they shall be treated with dignified fairness, then only the concept of good governance can be concretized. We say no more”.

The NDA Government has “guillotined” our aspirations. NDA Govt. has betrayed the employees and Pensioners and created an atmosphere where “Hopes ended in despair”. NDA Govt. converted our hope to be “deceitful and treacherous”, “Dignified Fairness”, “Calm sensibility” and “Concerned Sincerity” in treating our case is lacking on the part of NDA Government. Hence we have no alternative but to defeat the betrayers in the coming biggest battle of democracy.

The fate of the following other demands raised by the Confederation are also met with the same fate from the NDA Government:

Regularisation of Gramin Dak Sevaks and Casual/Contract Workers. Implementation of the remaining favourable recommendations of Kamalesh Chandra Committee on GDS.

Grant of HRA arrears from 01-01-2016, removal of bench mark for MACP and grant of promotional hierarchy and date of effect of MACP from 01-01-2006.

Fill up of all vacant posts. Reintroduce Regional Recruitment for Group B and C Posts.

Implement Option-I formulation of 7th CPC for Pensioners.

Settle anomalies arising out of 7th CPC.

Parity in Pay scales between Central Secretariat Staff and similarly placed staff working in field units of various departments.

Withdraw closure orders of Govt. of India Printing Presses. Stop closure of Govt. establishments and outsourcing of Govt. functions. Stop proposed move to close down salt department.

Implement 7th CPC Wage Revision and Pension revision in remaining Autonomous bodies. Grant Bonus to Autonomous body employees pending from 2016-17 onwards.

Remove 5% ceiling on compassionate appointment and grant appointments in all deserving cases.

Grant five Assured Career Progression to all Group B and Group C employees.

Stop attack on Trade Union rights. Ensure prompt functioning of all JCM forums. Withdraw the draconian FR 56(j) and Rule 48 of CCS (Pension) Rules 1972.

ELECTION AND CENTRAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES:

In a democratic country like in India, elections to the Legislative bodies are also part of the struggle against the anti-worker and anti-people policies of the ruling class. Com.K.G.Bose, the legendary leader of the Central Govt. Employees movement has observed as follows:

“It is a common say, particularly among the Government employees that the Unions should remain aloof from the politics. All the confusion has arisen because of the fact that the correct definition of the “Politics and Trade Union” has not been understood by most of us. Those two things are not separate from each other rather they are inseparable. Politics do not mean the policies of a particular political party. Each and every demand of the Govt. employees is linked with the politics of the country. It is high time that the age old confusions be removed from the minds of the Govt. employees and their unions. Collective thinking on the problems of life in the context of a nation is a fundamental right of every section of the people and therefore, the Central Govt. employees cannot be deprived of their birth right on the plea of “Political influence”.

It is in the above background, we have to take position in the coming General Elections. Our experience during the last five years have proved that BJP-led NDA Government is the most anti-worker and anti-people Government the country had since independence. This Govt. is by the corporates, of the corporates and for the corporates. The working class, including Central Govt. employees, should be made aware of this challenge and prepared to defeat it. It should be kept in mind that defeat of this Government is not the end, but our struggle for reversal of the neo-liberal policies has to continue with increased vigour even after ensuring defeat of the anti-worker government. In any case, continuation of this Government is against the interest of the working class, especially the Central Govt. employees. Change is the need of the hour.

As a class-oriented militant trade union, it is our responsibility to channelize the discontentment and anger of the employees on proper direction with the objective of strengthening united struggles to defeat the neo-liberal policies and ultimately pave the way for taking the struggle towards an exploitation free society. Let us make 2019 that started with the two days historic strike, a year of heightened struggles leading to decisive struggles against the neo-liberal policies. Let us be prepared for a bigger struggle in coming days to “SCRAP NPS & RESTORE OPS” and also for the realisation of our long pending demands.

Let us not forget that the ruling class may use all tricks at their command, all weapons in their armoury to divert the attention of the people and workers, away from their burning day to day livelihood issues, to divide and disrupt their unity to engineer polarisation of the society on caste and communal lines for their electoral gains. We should be prepared to defeat all such machinations and should preserve our unity.

Let us remember the following lines from the famous speech of Late Martin Luther King, Jr –

“Change does not roll in the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle, and so, we must straighten our backs and work for our goal.”

Source: Confederation

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - January 21, 2019 at 10:48 pm

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2 Days Countrywide General Strike Working Class of India

2 Days Countrywide General Strike Working Class of India

The magnificent country wide general strike on 8-9 January 2019 reflected the tide of people’s anger against the anti worker, anti people and anti national neoliberal policies pursued by the BJP led government at the centre. It surpassed, in its sweep and depth, even the earlier two massive general strikes, on 2nd September 2015 and 2016 held during this Modi government’ regime.

The participation of workers in the general strike across sectors and the massive support and solidarity it received from all cross sections of people across the country indicate the growing resentment of people against the government. The national organisations of the peasants and agricultural workers, dalits, adivasis etc,. extended active support and called for a ‘grameen bandh’ bringing rural India to a standstill. The retired employees’ organisations also have actively campaigned for and supported the strike.

Full reports of the strike have not been received. Below is the information as up to the afternoon of 9th January.

The strike in Assam was unprecedented. All the tea gardens were closed. Refineries were closed. Workers, both permanent and contract workers picketed and demonstrated outside several refineries. Workers along with fraternal mass organisations of peasants, agricultural workers, students, women etc held rail roko all over the state. Police arrested hundreds of activists including Tapan Sharma, general secretary of the state committee of CITU.

The strike received massive response from the working class in Bihar. Road transport was totally paralyzed. Scheme workers, construction workers, beedi workers participated in the strike and held huge rallies in Samastipur, Khagaria, Darbhanga, Jamui, Begusarai and other districts. Roads were blocked in Samastipur, Katihar etc. The state bandh called by the Left parties in support of the strike, on the issues of peasants and agricultural workers and against the deteriorating law and order situation in the state, on 9th January was total.

The industrial workers and employees in NCR Delhi joined the strike in a big way. Only 5 workers joined duty in the public sector CEL. The industrial areas of Okhla 3 phases, Naraina, Mayapuri, Mongolpuri 2 phases, Udyognagar, Nangloi, Wazirpur, GT Karnal Road, Badlhi, Rajasthanpuri, Bhorgarh etc, were totally closed. Workers struck work and marched in processions which culminated in rallies in different industrial areas. Around 2000 to 3000 workers participated in each rally. Teachers and students of Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University joined the strike en masse. Universities were closed.

Gujarat, home state of Prime Minister Modi, witnessed such a joint strike of workers for the first time in many decades. The trade unions took up extensive joint campaign. Engineering workers in Baroda, Surat, Bhavnagar, Rajkot, Junagarh, Ahmedabad, most of them not organised under any trade union joined the strike in large numbers. Despite the threats of victimisation from the BJP government in the state, anganwadi employees and ASHAs joined the strike and held massive demonstrations in most of the districts in the state. For the first time midday meal workers joined the strike. BMS campaigned extensively against the strike calling it a ‘political strike’. Despite this, anganwadi employees affiliated to the BMS union in 3 ICDS projects in the state joined the strike and also the demonstrations held on the occasion. Big rallies were held in 8 cities – Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Junagarh, Baroda, Anand and Palanpur. Around 3000 to 8000 workers participated in each.

The modern industrial area of Gurgaon in Haryana witnessed good response of the workers to the strike. Hero Honda declared 3 days’ holiday. Except Maruti, most of the big industries including Honda remained closed. Workers in all the smaller industries in the area struck work and joined rallies. A huge joint rally of industrial workers was held on 8th January. Workers in govt sector, roadways and unorganised sector like brick-kiln, forest, village chowkidar, construction etc joined the strike in a big way.

Strike in Rajasthan in different industries, both in organised and unorganised sector has been quite noticeable despite severe police repression on the striking workers in the MNC dominated industrial area in Neemrana. There have been numerous demonstrations and procession by the striking workers along with others throughout the state.

The scheme workers, MGNREGA workers, Hydel project workers as well as industrial workers in Himachal Pradesh participated in the strike. Huge rallies with mostly women workers were held in several district headquarters.

Despite the difficult political situation in the state, unorganized sector workers and scheme workers participated in the strike in thousands in Jammu and Kashmir. Interstate bus services were off the road. A procession with the participation of scheme workers, railway contract workers, construction workers, coal mine workers, hydro project workers, vendors, middle class employees etc was held in Jammu. Protest demonstrations were held in almost all the districts in the Kashmir valley.

The industrial areas of Bokaro, Ranchi, Adityapur, Gamharia in Jarkhand were almost closed due to the strike. Pharmaceutical industry was closed. Beedi workers and stone quarry workers in Pakur, Sahebganj and Chatra and Bauxite workers in Lohardaga were in total strike as were the workers in the copper mines and industry.
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Over 30 lakh workers, including industrial workers, public sector, government, bank, insurance, BSNL etc employees, scheme workers and unorganized sector workers, participated in the strike in Karnataka. There was total strike in public road transport; autos were off the road in Bengaluru. All the permanent workers in multinational corporations Toyota Kirloskar, Volvo buses and trucks, Coca Cola etc participated in the strike. Strike was total in the industrial areas of Bengaluru, Mysuru etc.

Despite the large scale disturbances sought to be created by the BJP against entry of women of all ages to the temple in Sabarimala, joint campaign was extensively conducted all over Kerala with an effort to reach every nook and corner of the state. Strike was total. Workers and members of other mass organisations picketed trains at 32 points. Train traffic was disrupted and several trains had to be cancelled. Trivandrum, Cochin and Kozhikode airport ground handling staff were on strike causing disruption of flights. Because of the campaign, people extended support to the strike. There were very few passengers in the buses and trains. Thousands of workers have gathered at the 483 strike centres which have been opened across the state. These centres were active for entire 48 hours duration of strike throughout day and night.

In addition to the total participation of Anganwadi employees, ASHAs and midday meal workers in the strike in Madhya Pradesh, thousands of workers in private industries, particularly cement industry participate in the strike. Strike was total in all the cement units where CITU had affiliated unions. In addition it was near total in Hitech and 75% in Heavy Engineering Workers. Workers in the industrial clusters in Indore, Neemuch etc,. and the contract workers in NFIL joined the strike. Though most of the road transport workers are not organised under any trade union, the extensive campaign by the CITU state committee resulted in massive participation of road transport workers with transport being seriously affected in 22 districts in the state, where no passenger buses could run. In Bhopal, 70% of the buses could not operate and 80% of city buses were stopped in depots. Even under government pressure, only 15% – 20% buses were operated. Strike in the coal mines in the state was also massive.

With the total participation of the transport workers in BEST (Bombay Electricity Supply and Transport) in the strike, bus services were off the road in Mumbai. There was total strike by workers in multinational companies like BOSCH, CEAT, Crompton, Samsonite etc. Thousands of permanent and contract workers of Reliance Industries also joined the strike. The industrial areas in Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Icchalkaranji were seriously affected due to the strike. Highways were blocked in many places. A massive rally planned jointly in Solapur could not be held as police denied permission because of Prime Minister’s visit to the city on that day.

Manipur bore a deserted look due to the massive strike. Vehicular traffic was totally stopped; educational institutions shut down and examinations were postponed. All the major markets were closed. Road blocks and demonstrations were held in many places.

There was a bandh like situation in Odisha. Road transport was totally off. Strike was 80% in cement and engineering industries. The strike in the public sector units like NALCO, Port and Dock and Indian Oil was over 80%. Scheme workers totally participated in the strike. Unorganised sector workers held rasta roko and rail roko in several places. All political parties including the ruling BJD, except BJP supported the strike.

Strike was total among the PUNBUS employees and electricity employees in Punjab and Chandigarh. Workers in the industrial areas of Ludhiana including Hero cycles, the cement factories in Bathinda, industries in Amritsar went on strike. Contract employees in private hospitals were on strike throughout the state. Scheme workers joined the strike en masse and participated in thousands in the demonstrations, rallies and rasta roko across the state.

Strike in Tamil Nadu was immense. Pondicherry witnessed a total bandh like situation with all sectors being paralysed. Over 85% of the public sector Salem steel plant employees, 70% of the BHEL employees were on strike. Workers in Neyveli Lignite, Tuticorin port and Salem Chemplast also joined the strike. The textile industry including the cooperative spinning mills, power looms, NTC mills were affected. 50% of the workers in the engineering industry were on strike. Workers in Madras Export Processing Zone also went on strike. Manufacturing units in north and south Chennai were closed. Loading and unloading were stopped. Workers in several railway goods sheds were on strike. Majority of the total markets in the state witnessed total strike. 80% electricity employees were on strike. Bill collection was closed in 90% centres. There was total strike in Thiruvallur thermal plant. 85% autos were off the road. Tea, rubber and coffee plantation workers including those in big estates went on strike. Street vendors also joined. Many other industries including the famous knitwear industry in Tiruppur, chemical industry, Salt Corporation, Ashok Leyland, tanneries, Tasmac, sugar, etc witnessed massive strike. Scheme workers joined. Beedi factories in 67 villages and towns were closed. Crackers and construction workers were on strike. 80% of autos were off the road.

Over 21 lakh workers and employees in Telangana participated in the strike. Strike was total in the automobile manufacturing units and breweries and distilleries and 80% in the engineering units in the industrial areas in Hyderabad and surrounding districts. 90% of the contract workers in NTPC joined the strike. Over 65% scheme workers joined the strike despite the threats and intimidation by the TRS government and its administration. ​

In Agartala in Tripura, despite the use of force, BJP government could manage to get only 30% of the shops opened and around 30% of buses to operate. Almost same has been the situation in many other districts of the state. Teachers attended schools but there were no students.

The main participants in the strike in Uttarakhand were the anganwadi employees and midday meal workers in addition to the government employees. In some places hotel workers, contract and outsourcing workers, work charged employees also participated. However, rallies were held in all the districts.

East India Pharmaceuticals, Britannia and other big industries in Kolkata were closed due to the strike in West Bengal. There was total strike in the jute mills with all except one being closed as well as in the engineering industry despite the terror by the Trinamool goons. There was no loading in trucks. Passenger and goods transport by in the state were practically out off roads. There was total strike in the industrial areas in 24 Paraganas, Hooghly, and Howrah. In tea garden workers in Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Dinajpur were on strike and participated in Rasta roko demonstrations. There was good strike in coal and steel in the state. 60% of the permanent workers in Calcutta port were on strike. 70% of street vendors in Kolkata joined the strike. Universities and colleges remained closed with the lecturers and students joining the strike. Despite attck unleashed by Police and Trinamool Congress goons on the striking workers in the state, it was resisted by the workers along with democratic people from all walks of lives throughout the state heroically. Police arrested hundreds of activists and leaders including Anadi Sahu, general secretary of the CITU state committee.

Participation of workers in the major industries in this strike all over the country was quite high compared to the earlier strikes.

The overall participation of strike in the coal industry was around 70%- 75%. Production and dispatch almost collapsed. Both permanent and contract workers joined the strike in almost all the big projects including the outsourced projects.

Thirty lakh electricity workers, employees and engineers in the power sector joined the strike across the country at the call of the National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers.

The strike in the oil sector was unprecedented, particularly in Assam. Employees in various refineries in Assam joined the strike and picketed offices. Oil workers of 3 out of the 4 unions in Kochi refinery joined the strike despite the management getting a court order banning the strike. Contract workers participated along with the permanent employees. Overall, strike in the petroleum sector has been substantive in the eastern, north-eastern and southern India while it was partial in western and northern part.

There was good strike in the steel industry with near total strike in Vizag steel, Salem steel and Bhadravati. In Rourkela steel permanent workers joined the strike and picketed the plant and strike was around 50% on the whole. Contract workers joined the strike en masse. The strike in other steel plants viz., Bokaro, Bhilai and Durgapur was partial.

Strike was partial in the ports as some of the major unions did not join the strike in some of the major ports. But cargo handling was affected in Paradip, Tuticorin, Kolkata, Haldia, Visakhapatnam and Cochin ports.

Road transport was highly affected creating a bandh like situation in many states in the country. An estimated 3.5 crore transport workers and small owners participated in the strike. The strike in the road transport sector was total with the participation of workers in public and private passenger and goods transport including autos in Kerala, Bihar, Odisha, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Strike was over 80% in West Bengal. Strike had serious impact in Punjab, several districts of Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Jharkhand.

Construction workers participated in the strike in a big way as well as in the demonstrations in the entire country. Plantation workers, tea, coffee, rubber, joined the strike en masse in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and in large numbers in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

In addition to the industrial workers, the strike saw massive participation of employees in the service sectors also.

Women scheme workers in all states including where the trade union movement was weak, participated not only in the strike but in the demonstrations all over the country. They lent visibility to the strike even in places where no other trade union existed.

Strike among insurance employees was near total all over the country. Lakhs of bank employees including the officers in the Regional Rural Banks, Cooperative Banks, Reserve Bank and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) participated in the strike at the call of All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) and Bank Employees’ Federation of India (BEFI).

Around 13 lakh central government employees joined the strike across the country as per the call given by the Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers. The strike was total in the postal and income tax departments. In addition employees of Audit and Accounts, Civil Accounts, Atomic Energy, Geological Survey of India, Customs and Central Excise, Survey of India, Botanical Survey of India, Central Ground Water Board, Postal Accounts, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Printing and Stationery, Indian Bureau of Mines, AGMARK, Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS), Medical Stores Depots, Film Division of India, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Central Food Processing Laboratory, Census Department, National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), Defence Accounts, Rehabilitation Department, Central Public Works Department (CPWD), Institute of Physics, LNCPE, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences, Canteen Employees, Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), Passport Department, and various other autonomous and scientific research institutes participated in the two days’ strike. The strike among central government employees was total in Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Assam and other North Eastern states including Tripura. In all other states 60%-80% employees participated in the strike.

State government employees in many states joined the strike in a big way. While the strike was 90% in Kerala, around 80% of state government employees in Haryana and several other states joined the strike. In Uttar Pradesh over 60% employees were on strike while it was 40% in Himachal Pradesh.

Strike in BSNL was total in Kerala, West Bengal and the north eastern states and partial in other states.

In many states retired employees, including EPS 95 pensioners extended solidarity and support to the strike by joining the demonstrations and rallies.

Huge demonstrations and rallies were held in all the states in the industrial centres and district headquarters with the participation of thousands of workers in each. Industrial workers, middle class employees, scheme workers and unorganised workers participated in these in large numbers. Thousands of workers were arrested across the country including in Assam, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal etc.

Particularly significant in the strike was the enormous solidarity and support extended by the various sections of people – the peasants, agricultural workers, women, youth and students etc. In addition, the organisations of tribals, dalits etc also supported the strike. Thousands of members of these organisations and their national and state leaders directly participated in the demonstrations, rallies, rasta roko and rail roko all over the country.

True to its commitment to the divisive ideology as a member of the sangh parivar, and ever loyal to its fraternal political wing the BJP, the BMS tried to confuse and divide the workers nursing illusions to weaken the strike. The BMS, which was involved in preparing the joint charter of demands of the central trade unions when it was part of the joint trade union movement, now finds the demands to be ‘political’. It had no problem in participating in struggles including strikes when the Congress led UPA government was in power. But, with the BJP in power, even when the government is fast carrying forward the anti worker amendment to the labour laws to trample labour rights underfoot, totally ignoring the suggestions of the central trade unions, neglecting the tripartite bodies, BMS strangely finds the government to be ‘positive’ to workers’ demands. It gathered a few breakaway groups of central trade unions and created a platform, opposed the strike and actively campaigned against the strike. But the working class of the country totally rejected its hypocritical manoeuvres. These attempts in fact boomeranged as the magnificent two days’ strike clearly showed the participation of their own ranks in the strike in several states.

What is required now is to take the struggle against the neoliberal policies forward and heighten and intensify it by strengthening the unity of the entire working class and the unity of the working class with the all the other sections of toiling masses.

Source: Confederation

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - January 11, 2019 at 8:18 pm

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