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Trade unions to go on nationwide strike on Thursday

Central trade unions will go on a nationwide strike on Thursday and expects participation of over 25 crore workers to protest against various policies of the central government.

In a statement on Wednesday, a joint platform of ten central unions said tremendous preparations have been done as more than 25 crore workers are expected to participate in the strike across the country.

Various independent federations and associations are also part of the joint platform.

The ten central unions include Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC) and Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA).

Others are All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) and United Trade Union Congress (UTUC).

The BJP-aligned Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) will not participate in the strike.

“The platform of Central Trade Union organisations namely INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC and independent sectoral federations and associations are organising nationwide strike on 26th November 2020,” the statement said.

The united front of farmer organisations — AIKSCC — has also extended its support to the general strike and would be mobilising their members in rural areas to express solidarity with the striking workers.

The strike is to protest against the new farm and labour laws, among others, as well as to raise various demands.

Scheme workers, domestic workers, construction workers, beedi workers, hawkers, vendors, agricultural workers, self-employed in rural and urban areas have also decided to come on to the streets for ‘chakka jam’.

In many states, auto and taxi drivers have also decided to keep off the roads. The federations of railway and defence employees have decided to have large mobilisation on the day to express their solidarity with the strike and the demands of the unions.

“As part of the activities, our Delhi units are organising industrial strikes in the industrial areas of Delhi and also making humble gathering at Jantar Mantar near crossing of Parliament Street and Tolstoy Marg (at) 12 noon,” the statement said.

National leaders of central trade unions would be present and would also address the gathering.

The demands of the joint platform include cash transfer of Rs 7,500 per month tor all non-income tax paying families and 10 kilograms free ration per person per month to all needy people.

The unions have also demanded expansion of MGNREGA, the rural employment guarantee scheme, to provide 200 days’ work in a year in rural areas at enhanced wages and also extension of the employment guarantee to urban areas.

They have also asked the government to withdraw all “anti-farmer laws and anti-worker labour codes and stop privatisation of public sector, including the financial sector and stop corporatisation of government-run manufacturing and service entities like railways, ordinance factories, ports etc”.

Among other demands, the unions have sought withdrawal of the “draconian circular on forced premature retirement of government and PSU employees”.

Other demands of the unions include ‘pension to all’, scrapping NPS (National Pension System) and restoration of earlier pension with improvement in EPS-95 (Employees’ Pension Scheme-1995 run by retirement fund body EPFO).

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