BWI affiliates from across India converged on the nation’s capital New Delhi to participate in a three day-long demonstration (9-11 November) a call by the Central Trade Unions against the ruling NDA Government’s anti-worker policies and refusal to meaningfully the trade union movement. On on the first day (9 November) over 70,000 workers from across the country gathered at Parliament Street under the banners of ten central trade unions and several federations of workers.
“Under the ruling Government, progress has been stopped in its tracks”, said RC Khuntia, President of the Indian National Building, Construction, Forest and Wood Workers Federation (INBCWWF). “They promised to create 20 million jobs every year, instead there has been 37 million jobs lost through demonetization. Lack of clarity with the imposition of Goods and Services Tax (GST) has adversely impacted manufacturing and small and medium scale industries. All the trade unions across India are united and shall continue this struggle until our demands are met.”
The Central Trade Unions have collectively raised the 12-point Charter of Demands, which includes fixing of a national minimum wage, an end to precarious work, strengthening the public distribution system, curbing job losses, ending privatization and restricting foreign direct investment in certain sectors.
The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) from the ruling party BJP is also opposing their Government’s labour policies. They will also hold a separate protest on 17 November with a ‘March to New Delhi’ to demand the implementation of the equal pay for similar workers law, protest against disinvestment of public sector units and to demand social security for all workers.