India’s unions to hold two-day “general strike” next week
5 January 2019
Tens of millions of workers are expected to participate in a two-day, India-wide protest strike next Tuesday and Wednesday (January 8 and 9), to voice their opposition to the pro-investor “reforms” of the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government, and to demand an increase in the minimum wage, and job-creation measures.
Led by Narendra Modi, the four-and-a-half year-old BJP government has promoted communal reaction, expanded India’s military-strategic alliance with US imperialism, and intensified the ruling class’ drive to make India a cheap-labor haven for global capitalism. This has included: measures that promote the further casualization of the workforce and gut work and environmental standards; a fire sale of government-owned infrastructure and other Public Sector Units or businesses; cuts to the minimal benefits provided workers such as provident funds; and brutal social spending cuts and tax changes aimed at placing the burden of the government’s fiscal crisis on working people, while maintaining ultra-low tax rates for big business and the rich.
Broad and diverse sections of the working class are expected to participate in the January 8-9 protest strike, including longshoremen, coal miners, central government workers, bank employees, and in some cities and towns, auto-rickshaw drivers and beedi-makers.
There is, however, a fundamental dichotomy between the aspirations and interests of the workers and youth who will join next week’s “general strike,” and the cynical and reactionary political aims of the trade unions and political parties that have called or are backing it. The latter are sponsoring next week’s action not to…