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1/15/2019

India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To The Streets | Zero Hedge

India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To The Streets

1/15/2019 India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To TheTyler Durden Mon, 01/14/2019 - 19:03 In what may be the largest worker strike in history, last week India came to a halt for two days when at least 200 million workers - about 16% of India's 1.25 billion population - in the country's public, services, communications and agriculture sectors staged a strike across the country organized by ten labor unions against what they called the anti-national and anti-worker policies of the BJP-led government, and against a new labor law that would undermine the rights of workers and unions. The strike is a protest against new legislation that passed on 2 January, and is a de facto verdict on Prime Minister Narendra Modi providing an opportunity for millions of workers to protest against high prices and high levels of unemployment, something we touched upon in " The Indian Railway System Announced 63,000 Job Openings... 19 Million People Applied. " John Dayal, general secretary of the All India Christian Council, told AsiaNews that the event was exceptional, " one of the largest ever organised in the country, planned in advance in every detail. " In his view, the most important thing is that it "is taking place on the eve of general elections that will mark the fate of the prime minister". While the massive strike took place in an overall context of calm, there were numerous incidents confirming that social anger in the world's second most populous nation is also approaching a breaking point: protesters blocked several cities, clashes broke out and damage were reported; a 57-year-old woman died in in Mundagod, a city in northern Karnataka, during a local protest. In Maharashtra more than 5,000 workers blocked the Mumbai-Baroda-Jaipur-Delhi highway. In Puducherry (Pondicherry), on the east coast, protesters hurled stones at a Tamil Nadu state bus. Transport services closed and rail services were disrupted in Kerala. In Odisha (Orissa), shops, schools, offices and markets shut down for 48 hours. In West Bengal, protesters burnt effigies of Prime Minister Modi. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-01-14/india-just-staged-biggest-strike-history-200-million-workers-took-streets 1/9 " id="pdf-obj-0-10" src="pdf-obj-0-10.jpg">

by Tyler Durden Mon, 01/14/2019 - 19:03

In what may be the largest worker strike in history, last week India came to a halt for two days when at least 200 million workers - about 16% of India's 1.25 billion population - in the country's public, services, communications and agriculture sectors staged a strike across the country organized by ten labor unions against what they called the anti-national and anti-worker policies of the BJP-led government, and against a new labor law that would undermine the rights of workers and unions.

The strike is a protest against new legislation that passed on 2 January, and is a de facto verdict on Prime Minister Narendra Modi providing an opportunity for millions of workers to protest against high prices and high levels of unemployment, something we touched upon in "The Indian Railway System Announced

John Dayal, general secretary of the All India Christian Council, told AsiaNews that the event was exceptional, "one of the largest ever organised in the country, planned in advance in every detail." In his view, the most important thing is that it "is taking place on the eve of general elections that will mark the fate of the prime minister".

While the massive strike took place in an overall context of calm, there were numerous incidents confirming that social anger in the world's second most populous nation is also approaching a breaking point:

protesters blocked several cities, clashes broke out and damage were reported; a 57-year-old woman died in in Mundagod, a city in northern Karnataka, during a local protest. In Maharashtra more than 5,000 workers blocked the Mumbai-Baroda-Jaipur-Delhi highway. In Puducherry (Pondicherry), on the east coast, protesters hurled stones at a Tamil Nadu state bus. Transport services closed and rail services were disrupted in Kerala. In Odisha (Orissa), shops, schools, offices and markets shut down for 48 hours. In West Bengal, protesters burnt effigies of Prime Minister Modi.

1/15/2019

India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To The Streets | Zero Hedge

1/15/2019 India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To The

The national strike was an initiative of the Central Trade Unions (CTU), which is an India-wide labor federation. Unions are opposed to the Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill of 2018 which modified the Trade Union Act of 1926.

Under the law, trade union recognition is mandatory at both at national and state level. However, workers believe that the new law grants the government discretionary power in recognizing labor organizations,

effectively eliminating the current bargaining process involving employees, employers and the government.

Unions demanded the enactment of the Social Security Act to protect workers and a minimum wage of 24,000 rupees (more than US$ 340) for the unorganised transport sector.

1/15/2019

India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To The Streets | Zero Hedge

1/15/2019 India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To Theaccording to the Economic Times . Addressing the media after the 2-day strike, Amarjeet Kaur of AITUC said around eight states witnessed a complete shutdown, largely in the northeast, Kerala, Bihar and Goa. There were over 20 crore workers who had joined the strike. The massive strike comes at an critical inflection point for India, which is one of the world's fastest growing economies, yet isn’t generating enough jobs for its educated young populace. A recent Washington Post article estimated that the number of people in India between age of 15 and 34 is expected to hit 480 million by the year 2021. They have higher literacy levels and are staying in school longer than any other previous generation. The surge of youths could be an immense opportunity for the country, if it can find a way to put them to work. But the employment trends in the country remain gloomy. An analysis performed by Azim Premji University shows that unemployment between 2011 and 2016 in nearly all Indian states was rising. The jobless rates for younger people and those with higher education also increased sharply. For instance, for college graduates, it grew from 4.1% to 8.4%. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-01-14/india-just-staged-biggest-strike-history-200-million-workers-took-streets 3/9 " id="pdf-obj-2-7" src="pdf-obj-2-7.jpg">

Workers in banking, insurance, healthcare, education, transport, electricity and coal mining also joined the strike. Student groups also protested as did farmers’ associations that have threatened to call a gramin hartal, a rural strike. Farmers have been protesting for months over the harsh conditions in the countryside, burdened by debt and an wave of suicides.

Tapan Sen, secretary general of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), one of the striking labor organisations, criticized Prime Minister Modi's government for killing the work culture in the country's public sectors by favoring private players in major manufacturing contracts.

Unions also alleged the government had failed to create jobs and grossly ignored unions' 12-point charter of demands besides aggressively pushing for fixed-term employment and amendment to the Trade Union Act, all of which is against the interest of the workers, according to the Economic Times.

Addressing the media after the 2-day strike, Amarjeet Kaur of AITUC said around eight states witnessed a complete shutdown, largely in the northeast, Kerala, Bihar and Goa. There were over 20 crore workers who had joined the strike.

The massive strike comes at an critical inflection point for India, which is one of the world's fastest growing economies, yet isn’t generating enough jobs for its educated young populace.

A recent Washington Post article estimated that the number of people in India between age of 15 and 34 is expected to hit 480 million by the year 2021. They have higher literacy levels and are staying in school longer than any other previous generation. The surge of youths could be an immense opportunity for the country, if it can find a way to put them to work. But the employment trends in the country remain gloomy.

An analysis performed by Azim Premji University shows that unemployment between 2011 and 2016 in nearly all Indian states was rising. The jobless rates for younger people and those with higher education also increased sharply. For instance, for college graduates, it grew from 4.1% to 8.4%.

1/15/2019

India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To The Streets | Zero Hedge

1/15/2019 India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To The

Ajit Ghose, an economist at the Institute for Human Development in Delhi, said that the country needs to generate jobs not just for the 6 million to 8 million new workforce entrants annually, but also for people

like women who are working less than they would be if they could get jobs at a decent wage. The same economist notes that India has about 104 million "surplus" workers.

Expanding the labor market that much is a tall task for any government, not just India. Modi's track record of job creation also remains somewhat of a mystery, as the country hasn’t offered nationwide employment data since 2016. The ministries of labor and statistics have conducted surveys of Indian households, but the results have not been made public.

Amit Basole, an economist at Azim Premji University, said: “It’s anybody’s guess whether we’ll see any employment statistics come out before the 2019 elections.”

1/15/2019

India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To The Streets | Zero Hedge

1/15/2019 India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To The

What happens after this unprecedented show of force by India's workers? Probably more of the same:

unions threatened to follow last week's strike with an indefinite strike if government does not heed to their demands. The general secretary for one of the labor unions, HMS, said the unions collectively decided to go on indefinite strike if the government does not respond to the “historic” strike this time.

If that happens, India's record as one of the world's fastest growing economies will soon be tarnished. As for the bigger picture, one where general popular - and populist - discontent around the globe is rapidly spreading and affecting not only developed nations (Trump, Brexit, most of Europe), but also the developing world.

Whether the unions will get what they want is unclear, but one thing is certain: India's even more populous neighbor, China, is very closely following these restive worker developments and doing everything in its power to stop its own population from getting similar thoughts.

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1/15/2019

India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To The Streets | Zero Hedge

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BLOTTO

41 seconds ago

  • Not bad. . The only problem is that over a billion of them went to work:)

Liquid_Silver

1 minute ago

200 million plus the 500 million already on the streets, that is calculator....

about......

let me get the

falconflight

2 minutes ago

The SinghChilds throw the rock and hide their hand...

ZENDOG

6 minutes ago (Edited)

Ya, planning for infinite growth, in a finite world.

That's gonna work out well.

2

Bring the Gold

9 minutes ago

  • Awesome. France, India, Belgium. When are US citizens gonna follow suit? Time is getting short.

6

1/15/2019 India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To The

Citxmech

3 minutes ago

Sure glad the MSM was all over this...

1

1/15/2019 India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To The

falconflight

57 seconds ago

Security personnel at German airports continue protest strikes

By K. Nesan and Marianne Arens 12 January 2019

Security staff at three airports across Germany went on strike again Thursday for better pay and working conditions. Security personnel at Stuttgart, Cologne/Bonn and Düsseldorf airports took part in the all-day protest strike. Protest strikes had already taken place at Berlin Tegel and Schoenefeld on Monday. A further strike by security is expected to disrupt flights Tuesday at Frankfurt Airport, the largest airport in the country.

Striking workers in front of the Stuttgart Airport

Almost 650 flights, well over half, had to be cancelled Thursday: 131 of them at Cologne/Bonn (out of 199), 370 at Düsseldorf (out of 570) and 142 flights (out of 275) planned at Stuttgart.

1/15/2019

India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To The Streets | Zero Hedge

The workers, who are employed by different companies, including Fraport Security and Securitas Aviation, started their strike at 3:00 a.m. with the early shift. At Cologne/Bonn airport, the strike began at midnight, as there is no ban on night flights at this location.

The work stoppages make clear the enormous anger of security staff and their willingness to fight. They confront extremely stressful working conditions combined with meagre salaries.

Over half of the planned flights were cancelled

There is a great deal of sympathy and solidarity with the strike among the wider population. “Everybody wants to earn his or her money, so I think the strike is right”, said one person in Düsseldorf, even though he lost a lot of time due to the strike and had to travel by bus from Düsseldorf to Paderborn.

Virtually all those affected who were interviewed by TV reporters expressed their understanding for the strike. One traveller said, “You have to see the big picture. We have had a miserable wage development here in the last year and a half. This is the result now.” Another says, “I have nothing against the strike, I can understand their anger.”

A woman who had to put up with a longer wait said, “People have to get their money too. Of course, it’s daft that it’s us who are affected. But when they achieve their goal, it should be okay.” A business traveller in Stuttgart said that although he was experiencing great difficulties due to the strike, he sympathized with the aim of the strikers.

There is no doubt that the security staff—and many other airport workers who have recently gone on strike—are prepared to take up a serious fight for a fundamental change in their miserable situation.

However, they cannot effectively defend their interests if the Verdi union controls their industrial action.

Verdi already conducted four negotiations last year with the German Air Security Association (BDLS), most recently on December 20 and 21. The employers are not prepared to raise wages by more than two percent per year—for many workers that is just forty cents more per hour.

The companies who work as subcontractors of the Federal Police at the airports formed BDLS in 2018. This is why Verdi is now, for the first time, negotiating a nationwide contract with this new employers’ association in Berlin. Nevertheless, according to the employers, East German workers should not receive the same salary as their colleagues in the West for another five years.

A discussion with two representatives of Verdi in Baden-Württemberg was very illuminating. Both made it clear that Verdi had no intention of mobilizing workers together to effectively push through the goal of a 20 euros hourly wages for all.

Eva Schmidt and Dominik Bollinger, Verdi Baden-Württemberg

Questioned whether it would not make sense to strike together for a uniform nationwide wage, Verdi secretary Dominik Bollinger said this was not possible. There were “clearly

defined negotiation procedures, we must adhere to

them...

There is the Friedenspflicht [a

union-agreed pledge of ‘industrial peace’]. There’s no point in escalating a negotiation.”

“We are conducting negotiations with the employer with a view to reaching agreement,” Bollinger continued. He made clear that Verdi had never seriously accepted the aim of 20 euros for all, when he added that “one must also be able to lose”.

1/15/2019

India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To The Streets | Zero Hedge

Eva Schmidt, head of the services department in Baden-Württemberg, explained, “We are only in the protest strike phase and not an all-out strike.” Verdi wanted to “give employers the chance to call us back to the negotiating table with a better offer before 23 January”.

A reporter from the World Socialist Web Site raised the question of a joint strike by all airport workers. He pointed out that strikes had been happening at airports for several years: among ground staff, against exploitation at Ryanair, among Lufthansa crews— pilots and flight attendants, against dismissals following the Air-Berlin bankruptcy, etc. “Wouldn’t a joint strike make sense?”

The Verdi officials immediately sought to play down the issue. Schmidt said that these were all “different areas, different collective agreements with different terms.” She was only responsible for security personnel, but not for the other areas.

The WSWS reporter then confronted the Verdi functionaries with the fact that the “yellow vests” protests in France had originated outside the trade unions and independently of them. Neither Schmidt nor Bollinger wanted anything to do with this and spoke out against the yellow vest demonstrations.

“The protest in France takes place in completely different conditions,” declared Bollinger, there was a “completely different legal basis” in France. His colleague argued, “France has a very different strike culture.”

Significantly, both immediately resorted to the slanders that were spread in the bourgeois media about the “yellow vests.” Schmidt said that she “generally did not think it good to use violence,” and Bollinger stressed that violence against police officers was “unacceptable.”

Strikers at Stuttgart Airport

These statements alone make clear that the security staff cannot achieve their demands through the negotiations that Verdi is conducting with the BDLS. While the workers are willing to strike and conduct a real struggle for higher wages and better working conditions, Verdi is trying to prevent just that.

Verdi is on the side of the employers’ association and is conducting the fifth round of negotiations “in the spirit of agreement.” This means that Verdi will make sure a compromise is reached that secures the profits and competitiveness of the companies.

Security staff can only effectively fight for their concerns if they begin to organise independently of Verdi. Like autoworkers in the US, who took the first steps at a December 9 meeting in Detroit, they must build action committees linking up with all workers, including those in other areas, establishing contact with airports across Europe and fighting for the international unity of the working class.

1/15/2019 India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To Themeeting in Detroit, they must build action committees linking up with all workers, including those in other areas, establishing contact with airports across Europe and fighting for the international unity of the working class. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/01/12/germ-j12.html Commenting Discussion Rules » rockstone 10 minutes ago  Wait.....this isn’t going to hurt the emerging markets fund that my 401(k) is invested in, is it? The Robo Adviser told me it was great. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-01-14/india-just-staged-biggest-strike-history-200-million-workers-took-streets 8/9 " id="pdf-obj-7-40" src="pdf-obj-7-40.jpg">

rockstone

10 minutes ago

Wait.....this

isn’t going to hurt the emerging markets fund that my 401(k) is invested in, is it? The

Robo Adviser told me it was great.

1/15/2019

India Just Staged The Biggest Strike In History As 200 Million Workers Took To The Streets | Zero Hedge

4

NVTRIC

...and

just now

its ROBO gone!

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ted41776

12 minutes ago

what these Indians need is some IMF debt, because everyone knows you can't have wealth and prosperity without high interest debt

/sarc

3

MoralsAreEssential

2 minutes ago

  • They may already have that. Modi is a Wolf in Sheep's clothing. He made deals to plant GMO crops and they poisoned the cattle who graze on the fields. A huge number of rural farmers signed a petition about one year ago for the government to shoot them and their families (some sort of "permitted" suicide) because Modi is using Eminent Domain to take their land and they have no way to live without it. Then of course there was the EXPERIMENT on Indians of prohibiting cash overnight in a country where cash was the only money many had. Who knows how many died.

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