There was a big demonstration at ITO on 25th September 2013 under the leadership of the Trade Unions Joint Committee of Delhi to protest against the anti-worker, anti-national and anti-people policies of the government. Hundreds of activists of all the trade unions militantly took part in this demonstration. On the same day and at the same time, there were similar demonstrations in capital cities of all the states in which thousands of workers raised their voices. The rally started from Firozshah Kotla Shaheed Memorial and marched towards the ITO with the workers shouting slogans like –“Government Policy should be in the Interest of the Workers and Working People and not in the Interest of Monopoly Capitalists!”, “Those Who Produce the Wealth of the Country Must become its Masters!”, “Stop the Privatisation of Collective Wealth and Public Services!”, “Down with Corrupt and Parasitic Capitalist State!”, “Minimum Wages of Rs.15,000 Must be Implemented!”. The rally was stopped at ITO by the police, where it was converted into a public meeting. The meeting was convened by Comrade Amarjeet Kaur.
It is worth noting that the Joint Committee of the main trade unions of the country are organising a massive demonstration at the Parliament on 12 December 2013 with a charter of 12 demands. This demonstration was merely a glimpse of the preparation for that demonstration. The trade union leaders addressing the meeting said that prices are rising continuously. The government is failing to control these. On the one hand, the condition of the workers is deteriorating day by day, while on the other hand, the profits of the capitalists are continuously increasing.
They talked about the policy of globalization through privatisation and liberalisation, which was brought in by the current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 1991, which has resulted in the handing over of public institutions and natural resources of the country to the Indian and foreign capitalists. Capitalists have been given a free hand in violating the labour laws and have been facilitated to making fat profits by exploiting the working class. Privatisation and contract system is being given a big boost.
They specially talked about the moves to privatise the water supply in Delhi after privatisation of the electric supply. From private sector to public sector, contract work is being increased. The government is making policies in the interest of the capitalists. There was great enthusiasm when Comrade Santosh Kumar of the Mazdoor Ekta Committee put forward his views about the coming Assembly and General Elections. He said that capitalists and their parties put tremendous pressure that the working class and its organisations should not talk about elections. They want to limit the activities and demands of the working class to ‘economic’ demands only.
He said that Delhi was the city of working class. The elections are approaching. The working people all over the country are also talking about the coming elections. Will the working class watch the show from the sidelines or will it field workers amongst their midst who will raise the red flag, symbolizing our sacrifices, and challenge the candidates of the capitalists, he asked. He said that we will have to jointly decide to field candidates of the working class in the elections. He said that alongside the fights in the courts, we will also fight the election battles on the streets. We must send the representatives of our unions and organisations to the state assemblies and the parliament.
Amongst the speakers, there was Comrade Gurudas Dasgupta of AITUC, Shri Pawan of BMS, Comrade Harbhajan Singh Siddhu of HMS, Comrade Dev Roy of CITU, Comrade R K Sharma of the AIUTUC, Comrade Abani Roy of UTUC, Comrade Santosh Roy of AICCTU and others.