People's Democracy

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


No. 37

September 12, 2010

Historic General Strike on Sept 7

Rocks the Country


                                                                                      Tapan Sen


THE call for general strike on September 7, 2010 given by almost all the central trade unions in the country viz., INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AICCTU, AIUTUC, UTUC, TUCC and the all India federations of employees in telecom, railways, defence, banks, insurance, various public sector units, central and state government offices and departments etc., has been magnificently responded to by the working class all over the country. It is an historic event of all-in united countrywide strike action by all the trade unions in the country in which more than ten crore (one billion) workers representing all the sectors of the economy participated. The central trade unions congratulate the working class for their whole hearted support to the strike call.


The general strike on September 7, 2010 happens to be the thirteenth general strike since 1991 against the disastrous fall out of the neoliberal pro-corporate policy regime on the life and livelihood of the mass of the toiling people and also on the national economy since 1991. The speciality of the thirteenth general strike on September 7 had been that almost  all the central trade unions in the country have come together to give the call for countrywide general strike. In fact this all-in united exercise by the trade unions  has taken off a year back when all the central trade unions in the country including INTUC and BMS held a national convention of workers on September 14, 2009 at New Delhi to unanimously formulate five point demands and gave call for observance of national protest day on  October 28, 2009 which was followed by a massive demonstration before parliament on December 16, 2009 and countrywide programme of picketing and court arrest on March 5, 2010 in which more than a million workers courted arrest throughout the country. September 7 general strike is the culmination of these series of collective and demonstrative assertions by all the trade union centres of the country irrespective of affiliations and political lineages to carry forward the countrywide united struggle against the anti-people economic policies. 





We must note here that the continuity of the initiative for building broadest unity of the working class against neoliberal imperialist globalisation by major section of the central trade unions and national federations of employees in industries and services since 1991 from the platform of sponsoring committee of trade unions paved the way for this all-in unity of trade unions. 12 countrywide general strikes by sponsoring committee of trade unions since 1991 and numerous sectoral mobilisations and strike actions across the economy gradually prepared the ground for this all-in unity in the trade union movement. The mounting resentment amongst the mass of the toiling people against price rise, unemployment, retrenchment, repression on labour rights, rampant violation of labour laws, mass scale contractorisation of workplaces etc – aggravated further by the pro-corporate policies of the government in the midst of deepening crisis and broadening inequity and disparity in the society along with consistent initiative by the major section of the trade union movement in the country to unite and broaden the sphere of struggle and resistance created the situation which brought together the national leadership of the central trade unions in the all-in united platform for struggle. This all-in unity for struggle has to be broadened and strengthened and taken down to grass root level to carry the struggle against neoliberalism to further height. 


The strike call was given by the central trade unions to press for five- point demands covering all sections of the working populace. They are:

·        Urgent steps to curb the continuous price-rise through universalisation of PDS and banning speculation in commodity market

·         Strict enforcement of all basic labour laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws

·        Concrete proactive measures to be taken for linkage of employment protection in the recession stricken sectors as a condition for the stimulus package being offered to the concerned entrepreneurs and for concrete steps against retrenchment, lay-off, contractorisation and outsourcing

·        Removal of all restrictive provisions based on poverty line in respect of eligibility of coverage of the schemes under the unorganised workers social security act 2008 and creation of national fund for the unorganised sector to provide for a national floor level social security to all unorganised workers including the contract/casual workers

·        Disinvestment of shares of central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) is not resorted to for meeting budgetary deficit and instead their growing reserve and surplus is used for expansion and modernisation purposes and also for revival of sick public sector undertakings.




The general strike on September 7 got converted into a complete bandh in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura. Notable in all these three states is the spontaneous response and participation of the striking workers from all segments of the economy in processions and demonstrations on the strike day, defeating all provocations and ploys to create disturbance and disruptions. All the districts and industrial centres in all these three states witnessed massive rallies of the workers from all sectors and in many places joint processions by all the trade unions had also drawn the participation of common people from all walks of life.


And mocking at the malicious campaign of the managers of the corporate controlled media that the general strike had been observed in only Left ruled states, the toiling people responded to the strike call in all the states of the country more vigorously both in terms of its coverage and sweep.  Bandh like situation has emerged in Assam and Jharkhand, Manipur and in substantial segments/districts of Orissa and Punjab owing to massive enmasse-participation by workers across the affiliations and massive support from people from other walks of life. In Punjab, Haryana and Orissa, roadways workers’ total strike has paralysed the normal traffic in both the states. In Mumbai, the commercial capital of the country, taxis and auto-rickshaws were off the road and the municipal workers were on total strike.   


Impact of general strike was felt countrywide as in many of the major airports of the country, numerous flights had to be cancelled or rescheduled.  The overwhelming majority of around one crore(10 million) government employees in the country, both in central and state governments staged the biggest ever strike action in most of the state government offices and establishments except in Rajasthan and partially in Madhya Pradesh. In the central government sector, overwhelming section of employees in the telecom, postal departments, AG office, income tax and audit offices joined the strike in a big way throughout the country braving threats and prohibition. More than eighty per cent of the defence sector employees working in 41 ordinance factories and depots under army, navy and airforce, the MES offices and 50 DRDO laboratories all over the country have joined the strike action. In Bharat Electronics Ltd under defence ministry, strike was total in three units while in other units it was partial.  


Another notable feature of the strike has been the noticeable participation of the unorganised sector workers in organising road-blockade, rail-roko in different parts of the country and the frontline role of the women workers in the same. A big section of peasants and agricultural workers besides other mass organisations also took active part in the strike campaign as well as in militant demonstration on the day of the strike. In that sense, the  September 7 strike was converted into a genuine peoples’ action throughout the country.


Sector-wise the impact of strike can be described as under:


·        The entire financial sector covering the banks and the insurance companies witnessed almost total strike throughout the country involving around 20 lakh workers and employees.

·        More than 10 million state government employees, teachers, employees of state public sector, boards and corporations covering almost all states of the country participated in the strike in a massive way.

·        Around two million central government employees covering around 80 per cent of the workforce joined the strike.  In defence sector also strike was around 80 per cent.

·        Of the six-lakh coal-mining workers in nine companies, viz., ECL, BCCL, CCL, SECL, NCL, WCL, CMPDIL, Singareni Collieries etc around 80 per cent workers joined the strike action. In the non-coal mining belt as well, spreading over Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, strike was near total.

·        Strike by the telecom workers and employees under the telecom giant BSNL was more than 70 per cent  throughout the country. 

·        In the petroleum sector, both in upstream, refineries and marketing, strike was almost total in eastern, north eastern and southern parts of the country and partial in north and western India.

·        In steel, strike was massive in Durgapur, IISCO and Visakhapatnam and partial in other places.

·        In Ports, at Kochi and Kolkata strike was massive while in other places it was partial.

·        In the plantation sector throughout the country strike was near total.

·        Unorganised sector workers in brick-kilns, head-load, beedi, and mandi-workers took part in strike in a big way, and organised rail-roko and rasta-roko at various centres throughout the country.

·        The construction workers, both from the organised and unorganised sector responded to the strike call in a big way.

·        The construction workers in all the hydel-projects under construction in the state of Himachal Pradesh were on complete strike.

·        Around fifteen lakh anganwadi workers throughout the country also participated in the strike in a big way.

·        Fishers and fisheries workers took part in the strike in several lakhs throughout the country.

·        The transport workers, both from the state and private sector responded to strike call magnificently.

·        Electricity workers joined the strike in a big way in most of the states.

·        Overwhelming majority of the 1.5 lakh medical representatives in the country were on strike.

·        Special Economic Zone of Visakhapatnam and one in West Bengal witnessed total strike.

·        The industrial Area of Gurgaon and Dharuhera of Haryana witnessed almost total strike despite all repression .



Statewide details of the strike is given hereunder: (except West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura)





Andhra Pradesh: Strike was successful in the state. Six

 out of eight industrial areas in Hyderabad were on complete strike. In other two, strike was partial. In Srikakulam district, strike was substantial in three industrial areas. In Khammam district in thermal power station, employees and engineers struck work for two hours. In Rangareddy district around one lakh workers of the industrial area took part in the strike action. In East Godavari district, paper mills workers were on complete strike. In Nalgonda 95 per cent workers in the cement and all major industries joined the strike. In Karimnagar, 10,000 powerloom workers were on strike and among the beedi workers and head-load workers strike was 60 per cent and 50 per cent respectively. In Ongole district, 23,000 industrial workers took part in the strike action. In Visakhapatnam, Hindustan Shipyard, Bharat Heavy Plates & Vessels and Hindustan Zinc, Dredging Corporation of India witnessed almost 100 per cent strike. In Vizag Steel Plant strike was 90 per cent, in defence sector 70 per cent, FSNL 70 per cent, HPCL 40 per cent, and in Vizag Port 40 per cent. In the Special Economic Zone of Vizag, 100 per cent workers joined the strike action.    Among municipal workers, strike was almost total.  The central and state government offices were almost vacant. Anganwadi workers in all the projects in the state were on complete strike. The mid-day meal workers and ASHA workers participated in the strike in a big way throughout the state except in few districts.  Kakinada and Visakhapatnam Port was on partial strike. Among coffee workers, strike was hundred per cent.   Rail roko and rasta roko was organised throughout the state. Railway and other workers demonstrated in different parts of the state. 


Assam: The strike was almost 100 per cent in the state. In Guwahati public vehicles, including private city buses, autorickshaws were off the road. Workers picketed the bus terminals and railway stations at Guwahati, Rangiya and Bongaigaon. Picketing workers, besides several leaders, including Tapan Sharma, secretary, Assam state CITU and Ananta Deka, MLA were arrested by the police. More than 2000 workers were arrested throughout the state including Asit Dutta, president, Assam state CITU while organsing road-roko and rail-roko.  In the tea gardens, strike was unprecedented owing to joint initiative by CITU and INTUC. Bank, LIC, BSNL, postal, defence, motor transport and state and central government employees participated in the strike. In Oil India, Numaligarh Refinery, Coal India, Powergrid Corporation, the strike is almost total. In BRPL, and Digboi, strike was partial among the regular workers but the contract workers were on total strike.


Bihar: The strike was huge success in Bihar. Bandh like situation was there in Patna, Muzaffarpur,  Nalanda, Purnea, Katihar, Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Jhanabad. Bank, LIC, central and state government employees joined the strike en masse. Strike in oil sector, including refineries was complete. In Patna, 80 per cent autorickshaws were off the road.  Chakka jam was organised in Sahababad, Begusari, Patna and other places.  Anganwadi workers were on strike in many districts. In Jamui, beedi workers struck work enmasse and the women workers blocked the road for several hours. Rail Blockade was organised in Patna and other places particularly in Northern Bihar disrupting train services. Hawkers took part in the rail-roko in Patna in a big way. Arun Mishra, general secretary of Bihar state CITU, Rajkumar Jha, secretary were arrested among others by the police.


Delhi: Industrial areas of Delhi viz., Narela, Moregarh, Badli, Rajasthani Udyog Nagar, Jahangirpuri, Wazirpur, Mayapuri, Mongolpuri, Naraina, Kirtinagar,  Patparganj, Friends Colony, Jhilmil, Badarpur, G T Karnal Road, Peeragarhi, Mayapuri, Azadpur etc have been affected in a big way by almost total strike action by the industrial workers. Road roko was organised in several places by the striking workers viz., G T Road, Sonia Vihar and Udyognagar, Anand Vihar Bus Terminal etc.  In Jantar Mantar, dharna was also organised by a section of striking workers mainly FMRAI and hotel workers. Around 35,000 workers took part in processions at various places.


Haryana: Complete strike was observed in Haryana Road Transport Corporation and almost total strike in Electricity Board. Industrial areas in Panipat, Sonepat and Faridabad were severely affected by strike as all the major factories witnessed massive strike. In Faridabad,  22  small-scale industrial units with around 800 workers without any trade union went on strike at the persuasion of CITU organisers. Haryana Agriculture University, Guru Tegbahadur University and Hissar Agricultural University were on total strike. At Panipat, strike was substantial among the handloom workers, while in spinning mills, strike was around 50 per cent. 90 per cent municipal workers throughout the state were on strike.  Contract workers at National Fertilisers and IOC Refinery at Panipat were on strike.    Striking workers of the unorganised sector in brick kiln, forest, construction etc organised rallies in several places in the state and held demonstrations. Anganwadi workers were on strike enmasse throughout the state. In Hissar, police lathicharged the transport workers and nine workers were arrested at Ambala depot. Most notable had been the strike in the industrial area of Gurgaon and Dharuhera, infamous for the repressive regime of the administration-employers combine. Almost all the major industrial units in that area viz., Honda, Hero-Honda, Hilux, Richo, Mandi-India, Satyam Auto, Lumax, RDC Concrete, Automax,  Ranbaxy, Medicat, Dhanuka Pesticide, Vibha Global etc, many of which do not have even trade unions witnessed spontaneous and total strike by the workers.


Himachal Pradesh: All the hydel project workers were on complete strike. The industrial areas of Solan, Parawanoo, Sirmour, Una reported massive response to strike call. Among anganwadi workers in the state, strike was almost total.  The hotel workers in Shimla were on total strike. The central government offices, banks, insurance, BSNL offices and medical representatives also reported total strike. Massive demonstrations were held in front of all the district headquarters in the state except one.


Jharkhand: Massive strike was observed in coal, bank and insurance sectors. Coal production and dispatch was totally paralysed. Train services were badly affected owing to rail-roko agitation throughout the state. Petroleum transportation was also stopped.  Complete strike was there in Bauxite industry in Lohargada and Indian Explosives factory. Industrial areas of Adityapur and Gamaria were completely closed and more than 135 workers were arrested including Narendra Mishra, vice president of Jharkhand state CITU.  Strike was massive in the stone-quarries, crusher, private transport, beedi etc in Dumka, Pakur and Sahibgunj. Thousands of construction workers struck work in Ranchi, Gumla and other districts and staged militant demonstrations.  HEC and Bokaro steel plant reported partial strike among the regular workers but the contract workers were on strike enmasse.  Road transport services were seriously disrupted. Markets were closed. Workers of unorganised sector viz., stone quarries, beedi, construction, private transport etc participated in the strike in a big way. In all the places throughout the state, big processions by the striking workers created paralysing effect particularly at Dumaka, Ranchi, Dhanbad and Jamshedpur.


Karnataka: Impact of strike was quite visible throughout the state as both organised and unorganised sector joined the strike in a big way. Almost all the districts viz.,  South Kanara, Kolar, Mandya, Bellary, Belgaum, Mysore, Raichur, Tunmkur, Hubli, Mangalore etc. witnessed massive rally of the strikers led by leaders of CITU, AITUC, INTUC and others.  State and central government employees participated in the strike en masse. One lakh eighty thousand auto-rickshaws were off the road.  In public sector units strike was partial.  In major private sector companies in Bangalore and Mysore like Mico, ITC, Hindalco,  Polyfibre, Rajashree Cement, L&T, Volvo Motors, Vikrant Tyres, Reid & Taylor, Wipro, Kirloskar Toyota, Hutti Gold Mines etc and in almost all medium and small factories, massive strike took place. Anganwadi workers, beedi and construction workers took part in the strike and in processions in a big way. In Banagalore, massive procession was taken out, led by the leaders of CITU, AITUC, INTUC, HMS, TUCC and AIUTUC.  


Madhya Pradesh: Coal industry witnessed 80 per cent strike. In National Fertiliser Ltd in Guna, production work got paralysed owing to total strike by contract workers. In Jabalpur, in the Defence ordnance factory the strike was 95 per cent. In BHEL, strike was partial. The industrial areas of Mandidip, Gobindpura around Bhopal, industrial units at Gwalior, Indore, Jabalpur, Bina, Guna, Ratlam, Sehore, Devas, Ujjain, Nagda, Neemauch, Muraina, Bhind   etc witnessed massive rallies by the striking workers. The unorganised sector workers of beedi, loading-unloading, rice-mills, anganwadi etc joined the strike in a big way. Medical representatives also joined the strike enmasse.


Maharashtra: The industrial centers of Navi-Mumbai/Thane, Nasik, Pune, Solapur, Ichhalkaranji, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Kolhapur etc reported massive response to strike call both from organised and unorganised sector workers. Taxis and auto-rickshaws were off the road in Mumbai owing to total strike by the concerned workers. 50 per cent workers of state transport (BEST) were on strike. In the Naval Dock 80 per cent workers were on strike.  Banks, insurance, anganwadi, home based, gram panchyat and electricity workers, medical representatives joined the strike. Massive processions have been taken out by the striking workers at Mumbai (20,000), Nasik (10,000), Aurangabad (10,000), Nagpur(1,000), Solapur(10,000), Kolhapur(10,000), Thane (1,500).   Anganwadi, Asha, mid-day meal workers, Mthadi workers and railway contract workers and beedi workers took part in the strike throughout the state in a big way.  


Pondicherry: The state government employees struck work. In nine centres picketing was organised and 100 workers were arrested.


Tamilnadu: In Tamilnadu, in almost all the major industrial establishments in and around Chennai, viz., MRF, Enfield, Carborandum Universal, L&T, Audco, Areva, Hindustan Motor, T I Diamond Chain, Taslet India etc, strike was almost total.  In state electricity board, strike was massive.  Strike in Neyveli Lignite, BHEL, Salem Steel was partial. In Tiruppur garment industry area employing more than three lakh workers, the strike was total. The small and medium industrial estates throughout the country witnessed complete strike. In the textile and engineering sector of Coimbatore, massive strike took place. Auto-rickshaw strike was almost total throughout the state.  Unorganised workers in construction, beedi, headload, handloom, tailoring also joined the strike in all the centres of the state. In Kanyakumari district 50,000 cashew workers and more than 5,000 rubber plantation workers were on strike.  Rasta rokos and rail rokos were organised at 150 centres in the state, in which 30,000 workers were arrested. In Chennai, a massive road-roko demonstration of 3000 workers was held. A Soundarrajan, general secretary of Tamilnadu state CITU and S S Theagarajan of AITUC were arrested among others.  


Punjab: Total strike was witnessed all over the state affecting all sectors, including power and transport. In road transport corporations and also in Punjab State Electricity Board, strike was 80 per cent. More than 20,000 anganwadi workers took part in the strike and participated in road-blockade demonstrations in several places.  The industrial centers of Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Mandigobindgarh, Hoshierpur, Amritsar etc reported massive response to strike action by the industrial workers and the textile workers in particular. Almost all the industrial centres including Chandigarh witnessed massive demonstration by tens of thousands of striking workers. Rasta Roko  and protest rallies were staged in several places in the state by the striking workers including  Pathankot, Sangrur, Mansa, Batinda, Amritsar, Rajkot, Garshankar, Nangal, Ropar, Nawasahar  etc.  Workers of the unorganised sector, particularly from brick-kiln, anganwadi, NREGA, mid-day meal, Asha, powerloom, contract workers etc responded to the strike call in a big way. Throughout the state roadblockade and rail-roko were organised in 60 places.


Rajasthan : Strike impacted the entire state in a big way.  Response of strike was almost total in   road transport workers paralysing traffic throughout the state and affecting all the 21 depots.   The industrial workers in all the industrial centers of Jaipur, Kota, Ganganagar, Jhunjhunu etc joined the strike in a big way. Notable was the complete closure of operations in all the major cement plants in the state viz., Birla Cement, Chitore Cement, Ambuja Cement and J K White owing to complete strike. Also notable was the complete strike in major textile mills viz., Pali, Ringas, Bhawani Mandi at Bhilwara. Strike in Khetri Copper Complex and J K Tyre was good. In Jaipur over 3,000 workers took out procession. Unorganised sector workers in loading-unloading in the mandis also joined the strike parlaysing the transactions in the Mandi. At Bhilwara, police clashed with the workers’ procession and arrested many.


Uttar Pradesh: All industrial centers of Saharanpur, Kanpur, Meerut, Bulandsahar, Bareli, Varanasi, Lucknow, Ferozabad, Farukhabad, Agra, Jhansi, Ghaziabad, Noida etc reported massive strike action and militant demonstration. In Ghaziabad site-4 strike was almost total while in the city at G T Road Meerut Road, Dasna and Rajendra Nagar around 80 per cent workers went on strike. In Bharat Electronics Ltd, strike was 68 per cent.  In Noida strike was massive in phase-1and 2 and in Chaproula and the striking workers staged militant demonstration and blockaded the road for hours.  In Chandouli, Bulandsahar, Varanasi, Kanpur strike of the industrial workers was sizable. State government employees also took part in the strike in a big way. Medical representatives also took part in the strike in a big way.


Uttaranchal: Strike in Jal Nigam, Gadwal Vikash Nigam, was partial. Strike in THDC was partial.  Besides complete strike in BSNL, banks, insurance, defence establishments and Survey of India, strike was partial in BHEL and THDC. Anganwadi workers were on total strike. In Dehradun, sugar mills, tea plantations and hotels witnessed substantial strike. Sugar mills in Haldwani and Panthnagar reported good strike action by the workers. Unorganised sector workers like anganwadi, Asha and contractor workers participated in the strike in a big way. In Rudrapur, three factories reported complete strike.  In Gopeswar, Pouri, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag and Almora striking workers from anganwadi, Asha, mid-day-meal and contract workers staged demonstrations.


Chhattisgarh: The coal belt in the state reported above 75 per cent strike on the whole. The privatised Balco witnessed almost complete strike both by regular workers and contract workers. The markets at Rajnandgaon and Dhamtari were closed owing to strike by all the workers. All the 102 warehouses in the state were almost closed due to strike. Beedi workers and anganwadi workers also joined the strike in a big way. In Bhilai Steel Plant, all the entry gates were jammed by thousands of workers and 50 per cent contract workers did not join the work. Strike was massive among anganwadi, contract workers, construction workers, beedi workers and mandi workers throughout the state.


Orissa: Massive response to strike call was received from nine districts viz., Sundargarh, Keonjhar, Baleswar, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Khurda, Puri, Ganjam, Jajpur Road and Angul and public transport was off the road. In the industries in these districts, strike was almost total. Mahanadi Coal Field witnessed massive strike.  NALCO workers also joined the strike action in a big way.  In the iron-ore mines and sponge-iron belt of Orissa, strike was hundred per cent. In Rourkela Steel Plant, strike was partial. Transport sector workers joined the strike in a big way affecting normal traffic throughout the state. The unorganised sector workers viz., anganwadi, construction, beedi, Asha workers, contract workers etc also joined the strike in a big way throughout the state and participated in massive rallies and demonstrations in several places.


Manipur: A bandh like situation has emerged on the strike day as the passenger-bus services, auto-rickshaws and other private transport were off the road and all shops, markets and establishments were closed. No flight had taken off from Imphal Airport. The government offices, post offices, BSNL and AG offices were practically vacant owing to strike by the concerned employees. 15 workers, mostly women workers were arrested while picketing in the market.


Jammu & Kashmir: A large procession of striking workers and employees from the industrial areas, banks, insurance, government employees and other establishments started from Press Club at Jammu to converge at a mass rally at Indra Chowk. M Y Tarigami, president J&K state CITU addressed the rally. 


Gujarat : Among the employees of banks, insurance and telecom, strike was massive. Among the industrial workers, strike call received a mixed response. Among the unorganised sector workers response to strike call was good. In Ahmedabad, Baroda, Junagarh, Bhavanagar, Rajkot and Sabarkanthak massive rally and picketing was organised by striking workers.  152 were arrested at Bhavanagar, 102 at Ahmedabad, 60 at Rajkot, and 67 at Sabarkantak.