Workers Strike Back!

Several trade unions came together to protest against the neo-liberal and anti-workers’ policies of the Modi government and ensure the success of the All India General Strike on 2nd September. All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) too campaigned for months and mobilized workers across states for the strike. All India Agricultural Rural Labour Organisation (AIARLA) too extended solidarity to the strikes and actively mobilized for the strike.

In Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Delhi-NCR, Haryana, Punjab, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and several other states where there are huge industrial sectors and manufacturing units, the strike brought the entire states to a standstill. Governments in several states tried their best to threaten the strikers, for instance, in West Bengal the TMC government unleashed physical attacks on striking workers through police and goons protected and nurtured by the TMC. In several places like Faridabad in Haryana, Noida in UP and Karbi Anglong, section 144 was imposed and workers arrested. In Gurgaon, 12 Maruti workers and 22 transport union leaders were arrested. In Bhilai police forces were deployed in huge numbers to force the workers inside the plant. In Siliguri too, hundreds of activists from AICCTU, AIUTUC, CITU and other trade unions were lathi-charged by the police as they tried to observe strike. Hundreds of activists from different trade unions including 18 activists from AICCTU were arrested. However, these measures failed to dissuade the workers from protesting.

Despite section 144 being imposed, a twelve-hour total bandh was observed in Karbi Anglong by AICCTU, the construction workers’ union, the mid-day meal workers and others union. A procession was also taken out in Diphu town that was joined by nearly 200 activists. The workers refused to be deterred by section 144 and instead chose to court arrest. Nearly 300 people also courted arrest in Howraghat. AICCTU and AIARLA also took out processions in Tinisukia in Assam. Effective strikes were also ensured by AICCTU and CPI (ML) activists in Tenali in Guntur and they participated in the general strike in Mangalageri in Andhra Pradesh. AICCTU and CPI(ML) also joined the strike in Nizamabad in Telangana.

In Gujarat ASHA workers were in the forefront in leading the strike in Savarkhanta, Banaskantha, Aravalli, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Surat districts. In Ahmedabad, they blocked the gates of a multi-storey complex where several government offices including the labour court are located. Later a massive rally joined by ASHA workers, forest workers, power loom workers and workers from various unorganised sector led by AICCTU was taken out that culminated in front of the office of the Gujarat Labour Commissioner. Later an AICCTU delegation also met the Deputy Labour Commissioner focusing on the demands of the ASHA workers.

A successful strike was also observed throughout the state in Tamil Nadu. AICCTU and AIARLA along with other central Trade unions took part in Rail and Road roko programmes in 45 centres in 16 districts. More than 3000 workers including factory workers, migrant labourers, construction workers, power-loom workers, beedi workers, civil supplies corporation load men, electricity board employees, defence sector contract labours, agricultural workers, among others took part and more than 2000 workers courted arrest. In Coimbatore Workers of AICCTU affiliated Pricol and Shanthi gear unions went on strike and participated in the Road rolo agitation. In Chennai, workers of major industries such as Ashok Leyland, Ennore foundries and Murugappa group of companies went on strike. There was also an active transport strike. More than 80% of workers took part in BHEL and Ordnance Trichy.

In order to ensure the success of the general strike in Bihar, nearly 20 thousand workers of AICCTU and the unions affiliated to it came out on streets and played a crucial role in ensuring a historic success of the strike. The state capital Patna was brought to a complete standstill and trains were also stopped in Masaurhi, Jehanabad, Ara, Rajgir, and Supaul. In Nawada nearly a thousand mid day meal workers, rickshaw pullers, footpath sellers and construction workers kept the Nawada main road block for over two hours under the leadership of AICCTU-AIPWA leaders. Similar bandhs and jams were also ensured in places like Darbhanga, Gaya, Saharsa and Arwal and rallies were taken out in Nalanda, Chapra, betiya, Purnea, Hajipur and several other places.

In Jharkhand, a massive rally was taken out in Ranchi under the banners of AICCTU and Jharkhand Construction Workers Union. In the coal belt of Jharkhand – Dhanbad, Bokaro, Ramgarh, Palamu and others districts the production and distribution was coal was brought to a stop.

In Uttarakhand too, massive demonstrations were held in several places like Dharchula, Ramgarh, Pithoragarh, Haldwani and Srinagar, Garhwal, in the support of the general strike. In Uttar Pradesh, activists of CPI (ML), AICCTU and AIARLA took to streets to participate in the strike. A huge numbers of workers joined the march called by AICCTU from Chaarbagh to Hazratganj GPO. Marches and protests were also organised in Aligarh, Bundelkhand, Chandauli, Mirzapur, Sonebhadra, Kushinagar and other places.

In Odisha, AICCTU along with other trade unions took out a rally in Bhubaneswar. The operations of the East Coast railway were affected by the strike. A protest demonstration against the Steel Authority of India was held in Rourkela. Demonstrations were also held in Gajapti, Kendrapada, Puri, Khurda, Cuttack and other places in which several comrades were arrested. During the strike, AIARLA raise the concerns of the agricultural and rural workers.


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