People's Democracy

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


No. 26

June 26, 2011


Trade Unions Organise Chakka Jam All Over Punjab




PUNJAB witnessed complete Chakka Jam for two hours by the working class on the joint call of all trade unions, viz the CITU, AITUC, INTUC, NTUI, HMS and CTU Punjab. The action, full of enthusiasm, succeeded in giving a message to the ruling classes that the working class would not continue to bear their atrocities for long. Thousands of industrials workers, MNREGA workers, forest workers, FCI workers, contract workers of different government and semi-government departments, Anganwari workers and helpers, Asha workers and mid-day meal workers participated in this action. The action took place at more than 100 places covering all the 20 districts of the state. At about 50 places, CITU workers alone blocked the roads and railway tracks.


The call was given to focus the government’s attention on demands like increasing the minimum wages to Rs 10,000 per month for the unskilled, Rs 15,000 for the semi-skilled and Rs 20,000 for the skilled workers. Minimum wages of the MNGREGA and agricultural workers too must be brought in the ambit of minimum wage legislation. All contract workers and employees must be regularised; contract system in the government, semi-government, public and private institutions must be abolished. Equal wage for equal work must be ensured; strong actions must be taken against the industrialists, contractors and government officials who violate the labour laws. Black laws must be repealed, false police cases filed against trade union leaders must be withdrawn, misuse of the police and section 144 must be stopped. Another important demand was that Anganwari workers and helpers must be paid monthly allowances on the Haryana pattern to the tune of Rs 5000 and Rs 2500 respectively.


The police arrested about 1,000 workers at Amritsar in order to foil the action. They also attacked Anganwari workers and misbehaved with the district AIFWH president.


The leaders who addressed the protest actions at various places were state CITU general secretary Ragunath Singh, its president Vijay Misra, state AITUC general secretary Bant Brar and president Nirmal Dhalilwal, NTUI general secretary Chander Sekhar and president Tarsem Jodhan, CTU general secretary Natha Singh, Inderjit Singh, HMS general secretary S D Kapoor and president Kulwant Singh Bawa, among others.            


While addressing the protestors, the leaders said bourgeois landlord parties cheat the working masses in order to get votes but impose upon the latter the burden of escalating prices after wining the elections, on the excuse of empty government coffers. Their central and state governments are slave to the exploiting classes whose interests they serve. These governments are giving the bourgeoisie Rs 2.5 lakh crore as tax subsidy while making the essential commodities increasingly costly. Government enterprises are being privatised and given to capitalists very cheaply. The trade union leaders said the labour laws are being amended in favour of the capitalists. The working class can defend itself from the capitalist onslaughts only by its class unity and united struggles for their rights.


The trade union leaders warned the central and state governments that the struggle would continue till the demands of the workers were fulfilled. They also condemned police action against the workers at various places and demanded immediate action against the police officials responsible. They also demanded immediate release of the arrested workers and withdrawal of the false cases against trade unions leaders.