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100 million workers in world’s biggest strike

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On February 28th over 100,000,000 Indian workers will stage the world’s biggest strike.

Workers will walk out for 24 hours, closing docks, railways, airports, and public banks. Energy, mining and road transport workers will also join the action, set to hit during the parliament’s Budget session.

The general strike is supported by all 11 of India’s trade unions. They are striking for the minimum wage to cover the whole population, and for temporary workers to get the same rights as those on permanent contracts. They are also demanding pension cover for all workers, including the private sector, an end to corruption and for limits on price rises.

The government has refused to negotiate for more than 2 years, using the courts and police to attack the trade union movement. All the while, India’s rich are growing richer, leaving 400 million in absolute poverty.

The last few years have seen a dramatic rise in the number off millionaires and billionaires; the 55 richest Indians own 1/6th of all the country’s wealth. This dramatic increase in wealth has been achieved through cutting jobs, pay and pension rights.

The strike highlights that workers are realising that the system they live and work under is only benefiting the wealthy and bosses and they are willing to fight back against this.

This is shown by the increase in struggles for trade union recognition in the car industry, wildcat strikes by Air India workers and walkouts by telecom and mining workers against privatisation plans.

As tension rises in the run-up to this epic confrontation, a clash on Saturday between workers and police outside a ceramics factory ended in the brutal murder of a local union leader while in police custody.

Workers had been in dispute with their employers over the use of temporary workers on worse pay and conditions and for the reinstatement of colleagues who have been suspended during the dispute.

There have been daily protests outside the factory but on Saturday police used sticks to beat protesters and then opened fire.

As well as killing union leader Murali Mohan, nine protesters were left with critical injuries. In retaliation, hundreds of workers stormed the house of a company boss, killing him, before going on to set fire to the factory, and attacking workers scabbing on the strike.

This episode shows the level of state-backed violence which is routinely used to intimidate the Indian working-class movement.

With just 4 weeks until the general strike, the Indian ruling class is doing its best to scare people into silence. The uprising by Egyptian workers in January 2011 showed that the existing rulers are only safe as long as there is no organised challenge to their power.

28th February promises to be an opportunity to demonstrate the power of ordinary people when we organise against low pay, bad housing and no future.

It will expose the parasitic role of the capitalists, and demonstrate that the courts, police and government exist only to defend the ‘right’ of a few bosses to exploit hundreds of millions of people.

The resistance of Indian workers to privatisation and cost-cutting is the same struggle we are facing in Britain: defending our jobs and living conditions against a ruling class determined to make us pay for their crisis.

Solidarity with Indian workers on the 28th February!



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This will be a hugely significant event. 100 million people could easily take state power, if they wanted to. That wont happen, this time out, as I doubt if the trade union leadships are that advanced in their thinking. But, between the Maoist in the East of the country, and this srike in the cities, the Indian ruling class's hold on power must be looking very shaky.


BTW, love you avatar, a chara.

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Great to see but I can not see much radical change coming as a result. Having looked at sources, I've come to realize that most of india's unions are reformist. Ideally the workers need to continue this strike past one day andseek comrades around the world to support them by striking in solidarity.

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