Incredible in scale, the largest anti-government strike in the history of mankind took place on November 26 in India - it was attended by an estimated 200-250 million people, protesting against government reforms, restrictions associated with the pandemic, as well as against a sharp decline in living standards. It was organized by local trade unions and left-wing parties. Millions of workers and farmers, with the support of students and other civil society groups, have gone on national strike in many Indian states. Not far from the capital, farmers broke through police cordons and approached Delhi.
The organizers declare that this action is only preparation for new ones. “The workers and peasants will not rest until the destructive policies of the government are reversed. Today's strike is just the beginning. This will be followed by a much more intense struggle, ”said Tapan Sen, general secretary of the Indian Trade Union Center.
The strikers remind that the pandemic is driving the country into a veritable recession, further deepening inequality and poverty. Thus, India's GDP for this year fell by a record 23.9%, and the unemployment rate rose to a record 27%. And in this situation, protesters say, the right-wing government is making amendments to the labor code and such bills on agriculture that cancel all the achievements made by the country in the area of workers' rights and protection of farms.
The protesters demand from the government to stop the policy of privatization of state-owned enterprises, the abolition of laws directed "against workers and farmers." They require payments of 7.5 thousand rupees monthly to all families that do not pay income tax due to the lack of a stable source of income, as well as 10 kg of monthly food rations for each needy. Moreover, unions are demanding job guarantees for rural workers for at least 200 days a year, as well as higher wages and the extension of these measures to urban workers. In addition, the protesters also demand the abolition of forced early retirement for civil servants and public sector employees, as well as a return to the old pension system.