People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 50

December 13, 2009


Nationwide Strike of Construction Workers

Around Seven Lakh Workers Participate


Debanjan Chakrabarti


FOR the first time in the post independence India, at the call of Construction Workers Federation of India (CWFI), more than  seven lakh construction workers observed one day all India strike on December 8, 2009. The strike has been observed in 175 districts of 19 states and in more than 50 big construction projects.


In Andhra Pradesh, more than one lakh construction workers observed strike in 15 districts. Workers in thousands held rallies, meetings, processions in different districts. In some construction projects strike was total.


In Tamilnadu, thousands of construction workers went on strike in a big way in 34 districts. The workers held rallies, processions in some places. At the call of CPI(M) and CPI on December 7, 2009 thousands of construction workers in different districts have been court arrested on the demand of reduction of prices of essential goods.


In Karnataka, in 22 districts of the state more than 50,000 construction workers participated in the strike. In some places well decorated processions took place. In some districts, the strike lead to a bandh.


In Kerala, before each district collectorate office more than three lakh workers assembled, agitated and submitted memorandum to the central government on ten point demand charter. On November 18, 2009 the Kerala construction workers union observed one day token strike on the same demands including certain state demands.


In Pondichery, in some places construction workers took part in strike.


In Jammu & Kashmir, in the Baglear and Sewa hydro-electric construction project, five thousand workers observed  half a day strike .


In Punjab, in 11 districts more than 50,000 construction workers joined the strike. Self employed migrant workers in Punjab took a lead for making the strike success. In some places, big rallies and processions of workers took place.


In Himachal Pradesh, in six districts, in all the 15 hydro-electric projects, construction work was totally stopped. All the workers came out of the projects and held meetings. In Shimla, self-employed construction workers went on strike. In many places workers held meetings.


In Haryana, in eight districts more than 25 thousands construction workers came out into the streets to observe the strike successfully. In 23 places, 11,500 workers sat on dharna.


In Rajasthan, in five big construction projects strike took place. In two districts self  employed construction workers joined the strike.


In Delhi, in East Delhi area,  strike took place.


In Maharashtra,  in five districts self employed construction workers joined the strike, held rallies and processions.


In Chhattisgarh, due to strict order of district police administration, the construction workers of BALCO project did not go for strike but they held protest meetings at the gate of BALCO, Korba. In this site on September 23, 2009, 230 metres high chimney collapsed and killed 40 construction workers. Even now, 800 construction workers did not get job in the projects. The workers are still in a dharna in front of BALCO gate.


In Assam, in 16 districts, both projects workers and self employed construction workers participated in strike. In 18 places, workers organised processions. In Dishpur, construction workers held dharna. A memorandum of ten point demands was submitted to the chief minister of Assam by MLA Ananta Deka and construction union state secretary, Tapan Sarma.


In Tripura, in all four districts in all sub-divisions, the self employed construction workers joined the strike. They held processions and meetings in some places.


In Manipur, in some village areas, self employed construction workers joined the strike. All Manipur construction workers union submitted a memorandum to the chief minister of Manipur, highlighting the ten point demands.


In Bihar, self employed construction workers joined strike in ten districts. They held rallies in some districts. Around five hundred construction workers held procession in ten districts.


In Orissa, more than 15 thousand self employed construction workers in 12 districts joined in the strike. In some projects construction workers also joined the strike. On strike day, in 12 districts construction workers held meetings in front of the labour commissioner�s office. In Bhubaneswar 700 workers courted arrest and in other places more than 2000 workers courted arrest.


In West Bengal, in all the 19 districts about three lakh construction workers joined the strike. In all the central and state projects, construction work was stopped.


A six member delegation of CWFI met Mallikarjun Kharge, labour minister, government of India and Vailar Ravi, minister for overseas Indian affairs under the leadership of Md Amin, MP, general secretary of CITU and Tapan Sen MP. The labour minister assured the delegation to call a labour ministers meeting on January 22, 2010 to discuss the implementation of construction workers� welfare scheme in the states. He also mentioned that one man committee has been formed by the government of India to prepare a social security scheme for unorganised sectors within three months time. A committee also is working on the revision of BPL basis. Soon this report will be released .


Vilar Ravi told the delegation that the government of India is doing their best for the release of 3,846 migrant Indian labour from the jails of 11 countries. Some workers have already been released from the jails of Dubai and Katar. The minister assured the delegation to call a meeting of all central trade unions to discuss the problems of Indian migrant workers abroad.


During zero hour in the floor of Loksabha, Basudeb Acharia, CPI(M) MP raised the ten point demands of the construction workers to bring to the attention of the government  to intervene and concede the demands of the striking workers.


On the behalf of the All India Federation, Debanjan Chakrabarti, general secretary, congratulated the millions of construction workers for their massive participation in the strike.