Bharat Bandh: Why Workers Brought India to a Halt for Two Days in the largest strike in history

Akhil Kumar in The Wire:

Issuing a clarion call against the Modi government, an estimated 200 million workers across various sectors successfully carried out a two-day nationwide strike on January 8-9. They were protesting against the government’s ‘anti-labour’ policies and alleged that the ruling party favours corporates over the interests of the vulnerable working class.

While finance minister Arun Jaitley doesn’t see any ‘real issues’ in the protest and hints at it being the Left’s attempt to stoke ‘symbolic unrest’ to ensure their survival, striking workers assert the Modi government is apathetic towards them.

Alleging arrogance and contempt towards workers, trade union leaders claim the Modi government has been ignoring their 12-point charter of demands that raises issues of unemployment, price rise, minimum wages, pension, increasing contractualisation, disinvestment, universal social security cover, strict compliance with labour laws and FDI. “The Modi government is not interested in even meeting union representatives,” a union leader told The Wire.

More here.