One of the world's largest ever strikes began at midnight on Monday 27th Feb and will end at midnight tonight. Up to 100,000,000 Indian workers from different sectors and industries are calling for a national minimum wage, permanent jobs, and much more.
As reported by libcom blogger working class self organisation in January:
Over a dozen of India’s largest trade unions have called for and signed up to the strike. The strike will affect many sectors, including public sector banks, ports and docks, railways, insurance, road transport, energy workers, miners, and aviation workers.
“Recent months have seen a mounting wave of militant worker struggles in India, strikes for union recognition in India’s expanding auto sector, including a two-day occupation of a Hyundai plant, a wildcat strike by Air India personnel, and walkouts by telecom workers and coal miners against the central government’s privatization plans.”
The different unions have a variety of different demands, they include gaining the same rights and protection for temporary and contract workers that permanent workers have, raising and extending the minimum wage, resisting the attacks on trade unions, stopping price rises, the creation of a national social security fund, increase in pensions, and combating corruption.
The workers are demanding a national minimum wage, permanent jobs for contract labourers, social security for informal labourers, pensions for all workers, intervention by the government to stop the rising costs of living, and to end the sell off of publicly owned companies amongst other demands.
Transport, postal services and banking have all been hit by the strike which involves around a dozen unions, with a 'complete shutdown' of banking in Mumbai being reported. Police have been deployed to try to prevent 'unlawful' picketing, with 100 arrests made this morning for obstructing traffic.