The All India General Strike called by ten central trade unions including AICCTU and supported by many workers’ federations throughout different sectors brought down economic and social life to a virtual halt in entire country on 8-9 January 2019. This became a complete Bharat Bandh with participation of many democratic organisations including those of students, youth, women and farmers. This strike was a response to Modi government’s continued cronyism to few corrupt corporate houses and intensification of attacks on workers’ rights and livelihoods amidst a situation where economy has worsened to unprecedented scale. There was spontaneous response from the workers involving more than 20 crore workers to the call of the strike in various states and various sectors of economy - from organized including state and central govt. employees to unorganized.
With millions striking work and hitting the roads, defying the repressive measures of the state, company managements, and goons of ruling parties in several BJP-ruled states and TMC-ruled West Bengal, the strike has turned out to be an emphatic statement of popular rejection of the disastrous Modi regime. The last-ditch attempt of the Modi government to deflect and divert the attention of the people from the key strike demands of universal employment, minimum wages and social security for all by announcing a 10 percent quota in the name of ‘economic backwardness’ -- only exposes the Modi regime's desperation and dishonesty. This strike is also a strong rejection of the communal and divisive policies of the BJP and its mentor the RSS. The people of India will unitedly fight back for social justice, economic rights and welfare and vote out the Modi government for its brutal war on the people and on the Constitution that unites the country on the basis of democracy and rule of law.
Reports show that some States like Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Kerala, Odisha, Puducherry, W. Bengal, Manipur, Meghalaya, and cities like Bangalore and Bhopal had Bandh (shutdown) like situation. Finance Sector, i.e. banking and insurance was closed for business throughout, even in A&N Islands. Electricity generation and distribution, coal extraction and movement had been badly affected. Many state governments have declared holidays for schools in view of the strike. The BEST, Mumbai city road transport service provided by the Municipal Corporation, recorded a 100% strike. The industrial workers and those of unorganized sector – scheme (ASHA, Mid-day Meal, Anganwadi etc.), construction, contract, agricultural, plantation etc. went on strike on a large scale and organized road-blocks and stopped trains in many states.
There are reports of arrests of striking workers, slapping of ESMA and No Work No Pay notices, particularly in BJP-ruled states. In Rajasthan where Congress govt. has come to power, around 1500 workers in the Daikin AC factory gate in Neemrana faced lathicharge, water cannons, tear gas, and air firing by the police, in order to stop the strike and peaceful democratic rally in the Japanese zone. A large number of workers are seriously injured and are hospitalised.
AICCTU played a major role in organizing strikes and demonstrations in several states and sectors. The strike, Chakka Jam, protests and rallies continued on the second day on 9 January 2019. Trade unions jointly organized a massive rally at Parliament Street in national capital on this day.
While industrial areas and financial institution were affected with the strike, this has got active support and solidarity from various organizations of peasants, students, teachers and various sections of society. Teachers of various universities have also struck work in support. In JNU Delhi students have joined the two day strike in solidarity. The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) has also expressed its active solidarity with this strike.
Central Trade Unions, independent Federations and Associations of various sectors have been consistently fighting on a 12-point charter of demands. AICCTU congratulates the workers for the exemplary fighting mood they have shown on this two-day strike.