World’s largest strike stops India: 250 million workers out against Modi
The national unrest is organized by 10 trade unions. The manufacturing sector protests against the privatizations of public companies and policies that do not support employment. In 2020 India will grow "only 5%". Among the requests: minimum wage, pension reform, labor reform.
New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The largest strike in the world began this morning in India: 10 trade unions today announced a national "Bharat Bandh" day of unrest. About 250 million workers are involved in protesting the current economic and social policies of Narendra Modi's government, accused of being overly focused on privatization and not very attentive to employment and growth.
The transport sector, the banking sector and the coal industry are striking in force. There are approximately 220 billion bank transactions at risk, including those in current and cash accounts. According to the unions, at least 500 thousand employees of the banks will cross their arms, along with another 600 thousand employees in coal mining.
Labour unions complain of central government indifference, which would have ignored their "12-point charter". The demands from the service sector and the production sector include a minimum monthly wage at 21 thousand rupees (262 euros); job creation; the withdrawal of contractual policies of the workforce; discussions at various levels on labor reform; no to the privatization of public sector industries and finally a universal pension system.
India is in a critical moment given the slowdown in economic development, with stagnation in the employment sector and widespread unemployment in all sections of the population, which reached 7.7% in December. According to the latest forecasts released yesterday, growth should reach 5% in the current fiscal year, the lowest level in 11 years.
For the Center of Indian Trade Unions, one of the striking organisations, “the government has failed to tackle the economic crisis. At the same time, it is committed to privatizing and selling public sector properties, natural resources and other national assets. All this detracts from the national interest and the country's development."
C.H. Venkatachalam, secretary general of the All India Bank Employees' Association, adds: "Modi's government policies have led to severe economic contraction, and created debt for banks. The government must take the necessary actions to encourage consumer demand by offering incentives to workers. "