India: Huge general strike takes on anti-worker attacks

Striking workers in Mumbai during the January 8-9 general strike.

India was brought to a standstill for two days on January 8 and 9 as an estimated 200 million people nationwide took strike action against the right-wing government, Morning Star Online said.

Ten unions affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) called the action after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government rejected their 12-point charter of demands, which included a rise in the minimum wage and measures to boost the economy.

They are angry at “irrational” proposed amendments to the country’s employment laws, warning that they threaten independent trade unions’ ability to operate.

CITU said the government has continued its “aggressive attack with arrogance on the lives and livelihood of working people”.

Farmworkers joined the strike, as did large swaths of the public and private sectors. Marches took place across India and there was a large rally outside the parliament building in New Delhi.

The Economics Times said the unions declared the strikes a success, and warned they would declare an indefinite strike if government did not heed to their demands.