On 2nd December 2011, some Central TUs have given a call for a bandh on 28th February 2012, on an All-India basis. The demands in the strike are against the price rise, protection of job security, enforcement of labour laws, social security for the unorganized sector, against privatization, against the contract labour system, for universal minimum wage of Rs. 10000 per month, for removal of ceilings on Bonus and Provident Fund and increase in quantum of Gratuity. For Pension for all and to enforce registration of trade unions, enforce the right to form trade unions of ones choice and to enforce the right to collective bargaining.
We support these demands which are genuine demands of the working class and call upon the working class all over the country to make the strike a grand success. At the same time, the fight for the above demands will be half-baked if we do not raise our voice, simultaneously against the neo-liberal economic policy of the Government. Price rise cannot be contained by making cosmetic changes within the system. Privatisation of even loss making undertakings has to be opposed because of the social relevance of the public sector. In fact, many of the public undertakings are important not for the profit they make but for the social purpose they serve. The universal minimum wage, as per the principles fixed by the 15th Session of the Indian Labour Conference of 1957, should probably be above Rs. 15000 per day, though the Central Government has fixed only Rs. 115 per day as the base level minimum wage and many State Governments have fixed even lower minimum wages for various industries. Successive governments since 1947 have talked of enforcing labour laws and the right to unionise and the right to collective bargaining but this goal still remains illusory even among the less than 6% of the workers in our country who work in the organized sector.
Recently the Prime Minister has said that labour laws need to be changed to give greater power to the employer. The judiciary in our country has been interpreting the laws in precisely such a manner in the recent past.
Thus it is clear that the fight for these demands cannot be restricted to sporadic protests but should take the form of a sustained movement, not for superficial changes within the system alone but for the very uprooting of this rotten system.
The workers in various countries all over the world have already shown that the strength of the working class is a mighty weapon. We call upon the workers to come together and make this strike the spark that will ignite a mighty movement of the working class in the country against the anti-people development strategy of the powers that be.