In India, as many as 150 million unionised workers went on strike on Wednesday in protest over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s labor reforms. Modi has proposed the largest overhaul of India’s labour laws in decades. The reforms would make it harder for workers to unionize and go on strike. Rajya Sabha MP Tapan Sen, who is the vice president of Centre of Indian Trade Unions, affiliated with the CPI(M). "The proposed amendments in the Factories Act 1948, proposed Labour Codes on Wages, on Industrial Relations, will leave 70% workers outside the purview of any labour laws and legal protection," said Tapan Sen.
Ten of India’s 12 trade-union federations joined a nationwide strike yesterday to protest at proposals to reform India’s employment laws. Trade unions say prime minister's proposed changes will put jobs at risk and make it easier to lay-off workers. The central trade unions had submitted a 12-point charter to the government. Their demands included fixing the minimum wage at not less than Rs. 15,000 per month, ensuring that contract workers got the same wages and benefits for contract workers at par with regular workers, universal social security and a pension plan for all Indians.
The government sought to downplay the strike, saying it was "not felt much" in most parts of the country.
Our companion party in India, the World Socialist Party (India) a few months ago issued a cautionary warning upon relying on the one-day strike strategy:
“In this era of capitalism's decadence the general strike (or ‘bandh’) for more reforms or mere protest is futile. It has lost its edge.”
Contact the WSP (India)