A number of central trade unions have called for a nationwide general strike on Thursday, November 26, to protest the government's "anti-labour policies". As many as 25 crore workers are likely to participate in the countrywide strike, called by a joint forum of ten central trade unions. The All India Bank Employees' Association too has joined the trade unions in the one-day strike. The unions are demanding a cash transfer of Rs 7,500 per month for all non-income tax paying families and 10 kg free ration per person per month to all needy. The unions have also demanded for expansion of rural employment guarantee scheme MGNREGA to provide 200 days' work in a year in rural areas at enhanced wages and also extension of the employment guarantee to urban areas.
The trade unions have asked the government to withdraw all "anti-farmer laws and anti-worker" labour codes and stop privatisation of public sector including the financial sector and stop corporatisation of government-run manufacturing and service entities like railways, ordinance factories, ports etc. They have also urged to withdraw the "draconian circular on forced premature retirement of government and PSU employees". They have also put forth their demands including 'pension to all', scrapping NPS (National Pension System) and restoration of earlier pension with improvement in EPS-95 (Employees' Pension Scheme-1995 run by retirement fund body EPFO).
Bharat Bandh: Who will participate and what may be affected
- A total of ten central trade unions will take part in the strike. These include Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC), Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) and United Trade Union Congress (UTUC). The joint platform also consists of independent federations/associations. However, the BJP aligned Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) won't take part in the bandh.
- According to a joint statement, the Independent Sectoral Federations and Associations in the central and state government employees and in the public sector enterprises have served the strike notice in most of the places, similarly the industrial units in the private sector, big and small, also have submitted notices to this effect in most part of the country. The scheme workers, domestic workers, construction workers, beedi workers, hawkers, vendors, agricultural workers, self employed in rural and urban India have also decided to come on streets for 'chakka jam'.
- In many states, auto and taxi drivers have also decided to keep off the roads.
- The federations of railway and defense employees have decided for large mobilisation on the day to express their solidarity to this strike action and the demands of the unions.
- Meanwhile, the united front of the Kisan organisations in India named as AIKSCC has extended its support to the general strike of workers and would be mobilising in rural India to express solidarity with the workers. The trade unions have also extended their support to the call by AIKSCC, the umbrella organisation of Indian farmers, of 'Parliament Chalo' march of 26-27 November along with the mobilisation of workers all over India to stand with them against the farm laws.
- Bank operations in some regions are also likely to take a hit as the All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) extended support to the nationwide strike. The association represents the majority of banks except State Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank. It has as many as four lakh bank employees from various public and old private sector and a few foreign banks as its members.
- As many as 30,000 bank employees in Maharashtra from 10,000 bank branches of public sector banks, old generation private sector banks, regional rural banks and foreign banks will observe the strike. The AIEBEA said bank employees will also focus on their demands such as opposition to bank privatisation, opposition to outsourcing and contract system, adequate recruitment, stern action against big corporate defaulters, increase in rate of interest on bank deposits and reduction in service charges.