Workers of Tamil Nadu rally against attacks on their rights

Report by correspondent of Mazdoor Ekta Committee (MEC)

On August 9, trade unions and workers organisations in Tamil Nadu held protest dharnas in Chennai and other towns. In Chennai, there was a massive rally held at Egmore Rajarathnam Stadium. Workers demanded immediate implementation of their long-standing demands. As part of preparations for this massive gathering, trade unions held meetings, door-to-door campaigns, street corner meetings, postering, vehicle processions, etc. all over the state for over a month. Thozhilalar Ottrumai Iyakkam vigorously participated in this campaign to unite and mobilize the workers against the anti-worker policies of the capitalists and their government.

The 14-point charter of demands of the trade unions included:

  1. Scrap the 4 anti-working class labour codes
  2. Temporary, casual and contract workers must be made permanent
  3. To counter the rising cost of living, set the minimum wages as Rs.28,000 per month
  4. Privatization of Public Sector companies and public assets must be stopped
  5. Guaranteed social security for all workers
  6. Ensure minimum pension of Rs. 10,000 for all workers
  7. Take steps to bring down the prices of all essential commodities
  8. Guaranteed remunerative prices for all agricultural produce
  9. Ensure high quality education, healthcare, drinking water for all people
  10. Protect environment for benefit of future generations

Leaders of central trade unions and representatives of the Federations of workers of Banks, Insurance, Telecommunications, Defence sector and Government employees, addressed the meeting. They condemned the attacks on the working class being carried out by the government.


Speakers pointed out that the most terrible attack is the attack on the rights of the workers, won over the decades through untold sacrifices and sufferings. To fulfil the greed of the big capitalists, the Union government has brought 4 labour codes. These new labour codes, essentially deny most of the rights of the workers and their right to go on strike, besides legalizing hire and fire. They demanded immediate withdrawal of these anti-worker labour codes.

They also pointed out that most of the workers in factories all over India are employed on fixed term basis, or as contract workers or casual workers. These workers are paid less than the statutory minimum wages and have no form of security of livelihood or social security. Speakers demanded that all the temporary, casual and contract workers should be regularized immediately.


Speakers pointed out that the central government has written off loans worth over Rs 12 lakh crore, which scores of big capitalists have refused to pay back to the banks. They demanded that the government must take steps to collect this colossal amount due from the capitalists and use it for the benefit of workers and peasants.

Speakers condemned the handing over of highly valuable public sector companies and assets worth many lakhs of crores of rupees to the big capitalists. LIC, Public sector banks, Railways, Air India, Bharat Petroleum, Power generation companies, etc. are being handed over to the capitalists for them to reap huge profits. They demanded that the privatization program of the government must be scrapped and reversed. They also gave a call to strengthen the unity of workers and peasants against the anti-worker, anti-peasant policies of the government.

It was announced that the trade unions will participate in the day long joint Conference of organisations of workers and peasants on August 24th in New Delhi, to decide the next course of action.

Workers took part in the day long mass rally with militant sprit, full of anger against the capitalists and their government. The rally ended with a resolve to fight unitedly against the attacks on the workers by the capitalists and demand resolution of all their issues.

Earlier, mobilization campaign for the mass rally was carried out all over Tamil Nadu amongst the workers and people. Thozhilalar Ottrumai Iyakkam took part in these preparatory meetings and the mass rally of workers on the 9th of September. It issued and distributed a leaflet on the just demands of the workers and the way forward. Thousands of copies of this leaflet were distributed amongst the workers in the street corner meetings as well as in the rally.



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