On 26th Feb, 2015, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) gave a call to organize a nation-wide satyagraha. Thousands of workers gathered on Parliament Street in the capital city of Delhi to fight for their demands. They protested against the BJP-led NDA government and courted arrest. On this same day, trade unions, federations and workers’ organizations demonstrated in a powerful and organized manner and courted arrest in the capital cities of various states and also at the district level.
It is to be noted that on 5th Dec, 2014, people demonstrated for their rights across the country in front of the Legislative Assemblies in many state capitals. Along with this, thousands of workers from Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) held a vast organized demonstration in front of the Parliament. In light of the government’s negative attitude towards the demands raised by workers’ organizations, this nation-wide satyagraha was organized on 26th Feb, 2015. The demonstrating workers vociferously condemned the anti-worker amendments made by the central government in labour laws, rising prices, corruption, the contract system, privatization, disinvestment and foreign direct investment (FDI). They demanded an end to the flagrant violation of labour laws, increase in the minimum wage to more than 15,000 rupees, pension for all workers and guarantee of social security. They demanded that all workers employed in various government schemes should be declared government functionaries.
Workers from sectors of rail, communication, banking, insurance, anganwadis, domestic work, manufacturing etc. participated in the protest. Working women also participated in large numbers in the protest.
During the demonstration, workers held placards with slogans like – “The minimum wage should be 15,000 rupees, any lesser than this is corruption!”, “Down with the rule of the capitalists and bring the rule of workers and peasants!” ”Implement ESI and Provident Fund schemes for all workers!”, “The Parliament is a weapon of the capitalist monopolies!”, ”Contract system is unacceptable for permanent and continuous work!”, ”This is not democracy but the rule of capitalist monopoly!”, ”Liberalisation, privatization and globalization is leading to greater exploitation and oppression of women!”
Trade union leaders addressed the workers who had gathered at the protest in Jantar Mantar. They declared that the BJP-led NDA government is a capitalist government. The government’s slogan of “Achche din” is meant only for the capitalists and not for the workers and toiling masses of the country. The government has made anti-worker changes in labour laws to ensure the prosperity of capitalists. State governments are also two steps ahead of the central government in encouraging anti-worker policies. They are changing labour laws in states for the benefit of capitalists so that they can exploit workers to an even greater extent and extract the maximum possible profits from them.
The speakers criticized the handing over of public property by governments to private owners through the means of liberalization, privatization and globalisation
Those addressing the demonstrators included – Comrade Amarjeet Kaur from AITUC, Comrade Tapan Sen from CITU, Comrade Prakash Rao from Mazdoor Ekta Committee (MEC), Comrade Santosh Rai from AICCTU, Comrade RK Sharma from AIUTUC, Comrade Rajendra Kumar from Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Comrade SS Jaiswal from TUCC, Dr. Raghvaiya from INTUC, Lata from Seva, Brijesh Upadhyaya from Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh and Jawahar Singh from LPF. The demonstration meeting was conducted by Comrade D. Sharma, Comrade Malkotiya, Comrade Amjad Hasan and Comrade Santosh Kumar.
After the leaders addressed the demonstrators, the protest marched on to Parliament Bhawan. The police arrested the demonstrators near the police station on Parliament Bhawan.
All the trade union leaders said that they were planning the future strategy so that this capitalist government could be brought to its knees.
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar congratulates all the trade unions, federations and workers’ organizations on carrying out this successful demonstration.