I express my great gratitude to AIFAP, which gave a chance to Mazdoor Ekta Committee to express its views on this forum. AIFAP has brought together 71 unions from the organised sector onto this forum; no praise is great enough for this initiative. You have made the slogan “An Attack on One is an Attack on All!” meaningful. That is why I congratulate you on behalf of the Mazdoor Ekta Committee. On 23-24 February 2022 we all are going on an All India strike against the anti-worker, anti-people and anti-national policies of the government, and that is why all of us deserve kudos.
Strike is a weapon of the working class; workers go on strike when capitalist exploitation crosses all limits. Workers strike when their rights are seized. Through the medium of strike we show our strength to the capitalists, that if the working class goes on strike then it can stop the production, banks, transport, power, ports and docks, railways, aeroplanes and so on of the capitalists and bring the entire economy to a grinding halt. The working class is the power that produces the wealth of the country. It makes everything from a needle to an aeroplane and runs the whole country. It demonstrates this full power by means of a strike.
Last year we saw that the increasing mass opposition of the workers show that they are very unhappy and angry about their deplorable conditions. Due to the lockdown many jobs have been destroyed and salaries slashed.
In 2020 the government passes the anti-worker and pro-capitalist Labour Codes in the parliament. They were passed despite people’s opposition. The Labour Code Bills will have the most adverse effects on the workers n the big industries. This law is one that enslaves the workers, which pushes them into slavery; it has been brought and passed in the parliament in order to maximise the profits of the monopoly capitalist.
In 2021 the central government increased the pace of privatisation. The capitalists of our country can do this because they are the rulers of our country. They have full control over the economy of the country. The capitalists spend lakhs of crores to ensure that that party comes into power which can implement their agenda.
The government has not been able to succeed in privatising sectors such as railways, banks, defence, power, insurance, roadways, ports and docks. Lakhs and lakhs of employees have pushed back the privatisation agenda.
We can see that the railways 16 lakh employees are opposing privatisation. Due to this opposition the government was not able to implement its 100-day program. Due to the opposition of the electricity employees, the government was unable to present the Electricity Bill 2021 in the parliament.
Thousands upon thousands of workers in the defence sector are fighting resolutely against privatisation. Workers in Rajasthan, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and other states struck work against the Essential Defence Services Act 2021. Many unions also supported them. They showed that if they go on strike, production of weapons, ammunition and all articles essential for defence will be stopped in the country.
More than 6 lakh employees of Coal India are showing their opposition to the privatisation of coal mines.
More than one crore Anganwadi and Asha workers demonstrated for their demands to be recognised as workers, for improved working conditions and for wages.
Health workers, doctors, nurses are in struggle in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan against their bad working conditions and for getting their salaries.
School and university teachers are on the streets against the privatisation of education.
On 16th and 17th of December bank employees went on a two day strike. 9 lakh bank workers struck work and brought the government to its knees. The government was scared and was not able to present the Bank Law (Reforms) Bill 2021 in parliament.
Over 50 thousand workers of Bharat Petroleum are opposing the privatisation of oil companies. The workers of Foxconn blocked the Chennai-Bengaluru highway; 15,000 workers demonstrated their strong opposition and struck work.
All these struggles of the workers are examples of their unity. All of us can see that the workers and farmers of this country are fighting strongly against the policies of privatisation, liberalisation and globalisation. We are seeing that the workers are forging their unity by rising above flags, parties and unions. All workers are uniting on one platform as a class and trying to lead the class struggle.
We workers have to understand who our real enemies are!
The real enemies of our country are Tata, Birla, Ambani and Adani; there are 150 capitalists like them who rule our country. The judiciary, executive, parliament and Vidhan Sabhas are run for them. Policies and laws are made for them.
In our country parties play the role of managers. In companies managers change but the owner remains the same. Parties are changed in the same way. The agenda of the capitalists do not change by changing parties. Like in carriages horses are changed from time to time, but the driver does not change.
Mazdoor Ekta Committee says that we should strengthen our class unity and defeat the capitalist agenda of privatisation, liberalisation ad globalisation! And we should build such an India where workers and peasants will have the right over water, forests, land, air, and minerals. Where workers and peasants will have the right over parliament, courts, Vidhan Sabhas. The economy should be run in the interest of workers and peasants.
That is when the sun will rise, not for the capitalists, but for workers, peasants, women and youth.
Hum hain iske malik, hum hain Hindostan, mazdoor, kisan, aurat aur jawan!
(We are its owners, we are Hindostan, workers, farmers, women and youth!)
Let us make the strike of 23rd and 24th February successful!