(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 19, 2012
Working Class Prepares for Historic General Strike
A K Padmanabhan
THE working people of our country have by now in full gear to go on a one-day historic general strike on February 28. All sections of Indian workers, in every corner of the country, have been preparing for this united action for the last three months.
decision to go on a day’s strike, as is well known, was taken in a
convention of central trade unions and industrial federations in
This call was fully endorsed by independent federations of those working in various sectors, like state and central government employees and teachers, bank and insurance employees, defence production, telecommunication, petroleum and natural gas, electricity employees etc.
All these organisations began vigorous preparations during December 2011. Joint meetings and campaigns began by the end of that month.
Central leaders of all trade union organisations went to various state centres and also attended sectoral meetings at the national level in order to prepare for the strike.
A meeting at Mumbai on December 30 saw the national and also state level leaders of central trade unions planning joint initiatives. When approached, leaders of Bharatiya Kamgar Sena also participated. Various sections of employees and workers joined the meeting.
series of state level conventions began with a successful and massive
Dr Sanjeeva Reddy (president, INTUC), B N Rai (general secretary, BMS), Gurudas Dasgupta (general secretary, AITUC), Tapan Sen (general secretary, CITU) and other central leaders along with state leaders addressed the convention. Leaders of the Telugunadu Trade Union Council (TNTUC) also attended.
9 saw an open air massive convention of all sections of workers in
calling upon the workers of
In Kerala, a massive convention was organised on January 17, in which 18 organisations, central trade unions and various state level organisations, were represented. Addressing the convention, state leaders of these organisations approved a detailed programme of campaigns all over the state, and also sectoral programmes. These included district conventions, dharnas, vehicle jathas etc.
mass meeting at
level conventions were also held in Haryana, Maharashtra, Orissa,
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh,
Reports received from various states showed that district and regional or local level conventions were also being organised in every part of the country, and that workers from various unions are participating therein with much enthusiasm.
One important development is that huge preparations had been going on at sectoral level.
central trade unions organised a convention of central public sector
The convention adopted a declaration, calling for massive participation of PSU workers in the strike. It was circulated among PSU workers in large numbers.
This successful initiative prompted various unions in PSUs, like coal, petroleum and natural gas, NTPC, powergrid, telecom, etc, to come together and issue joint appeals. These were signed by national leaders of industrial federations or representatives in the national level negotiating bodies.
national convention of workers of oil and natural gas PSUs was held in
All the five federations in the port and dock sector, including those led by the HMS, CITU, INTUC and AITUC, issued a joint statement. Joint preparations for the success of the February 28 strike followed.
of national federations in public as well as private road transport
In the defence production sector, AIDEF, INTUC and BMS affiliated federations were jointly organising campaigns all over the country for the success of the strike.
In the telecom sector, all the workers’ and employees’ unions including the BSNLEU, NFTE and FNTO came together to plan countrywide campaigns to make the strike complete.
conventions and meetings were also held in various states. In Kerala, a
convention of unions in central and state PSUs was held at
As has been the practice, all unions in the banking and insurance sector will participate in the strike en masse. Countrywide campaign meetings were held in these sectors.
Held at Hissar in December, the national conference of the All India State Government Employees’ Federation, the largest organisation of state government employees in the country, unanimously decided to participate in the strike. Its leadership at all levels has been making all necessary preparations for a successful strike.
The Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers, representing all sections of central government employees including postal employees, has also called for turning the strike into a massive action of protest. The confederation leadership chalked out a countrywide tour programme for the campaign to ensure that the message and demands of the strike were taken down to the central government employees at all levels.
The recent united struggle of postal employees against the threat of closure of RMS and post offices in the country achieved success when the government was forced to give a written assurance not to close any office for the next three years at least, due to which the proposed indefinite strike was withdrawn. Now the postal employees’ unions are fully involved in preparations for the success of the February 28 all-India general strike. Leaderships of the NFPE, FNPO and GDS unions jointly went on a countrywide campaign among the postal employees to ensure complete strike in the postal department.
A meeting of unions in the Southern Railway, including the DREU (CITU), SRES (INTUC), DRKS (BMS), AISMA, AILRSA, SRLU, SREF and others, conducted a campaign in the divisional headquarters in the zone and also among the passengers to explain the demands. Demonstrations will be held in all the divisional centres on February 28, and all workers will wear badges on the day.
After a meeting of the CITU secretariat, all state committees of the CITU held meetings and planned extensive campaigns by unions and committees. State level federations and unions in the unorganised and organised sectors are preparing well for the strike.
Various all-India federations and all-India coordination committees met and directed their state committees or affiliates of the federation to go in for extensive campaigns.
The All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers, Electricity Employees Federation of India, LIC Agents Organisation of India, All India Road Transport Workers Federation and others have held national, zonal and state level meetings.
CITU secretariat members at the centre have been attending various meetings, conventions and seminars in connection with the strike.
The CITU centre bought out a booklet on the strike in English and Hindi, and various state committees published the same in local languages. In this regard, the Andhra Pradesh unit of the CITU made an unprecedented effort of publishing 2.56 lakh copies of the booklet in Telugu. The booklet was also published in Bengali, Oriya, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada in large numbers.
Apart from posters, millions of handbills have already been circulated and more are being brought out. Wall writings are going on in various parts of the country.
Sectoral rallies, like that of the brick kiln workers in Hissar (Haryana), are also being planned by state committees.
Thus, with reports still pouring in from different states about the massive ongoing preparations for the strike, one may be pretty sure that the strike on February 28 will see an unprecedented participation, that men and women workers in the country will make it a historic one in all aspects. Firmly united, the working class is on the move and will be out in the streets to challenge the policies of the ruling classes.