Indian trade unions on general strike this Friday
The TUC has sent a message of solidarity to Indian trade unions who have called a general strike this Friday 2 September. The strike has been called by up to ten national trade union centres in an unprecedented display of unity, to protest against government policies on minimum wages, employment protection and privatisation – among other issues in a 12-point list of grievances.
Although the government of India has tried to forestall strike action by raising the minimum wage, unions claim it will still be less than half the value needed for workers to live on it. And they have rejected the argument that laws protecting people from unemployment would increase the number of jobs available (a favourite argument of employers and their political friends around the world.)
Business Today reported that the country was likely to be brought to a standstill:
“More than a million workers in banking, telecom and other sectors will go on strike on Friday, seeking higher wages and to protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s labour reforms and a plan to close some loss-making firms.”
The union confederations involved include INTUC, HMS and SEWA – like the TUC, members of the International Trade Union Confederation – as well as AITUC, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, AICCTU, UTUC and LPF. India’s trade union movement has been riven by political and religious splits which – in essence – result from the trade union law left to India by the British Empire (the 1926 Act is still in force.)