AICCTU’s Role in December 14 General Strike
On December 8, building up towards the General Strike, AICCTU held a March to Parliament demanding that both the “Social Security” Bill and the “Unorganised Sector Workers (Condition of Work and Livelihood Promotion)” Bill should be simultaneously tabled in the winter session of the Parliament.
AICCTU participated in the December 14 General Strike, opposing not only the Central Government’s policies but also the anti-people policies of various state governments.
Jharkhand- A historical Bandh took place in which our organisations played a leading role. The entire coal belt where the GS of AICCTU Swapan Mukherjee himself led the strike, witnessed complete and unprecedented bandh despite active opposition and strike- breaking role by INTUC & BMS. At several places skirmishes took place with INTUC leaders.
In Ranchi, a Protest March was held and 300 activists courted arrest led by Party State Secretary Suvendu Sen, CCM Janardhan Prasad and MLA Vinod Singh. The Ranchi- Tata Highway was blocked for several hours. Similarly, GT Road was blocked at Bagodar. Activists also courted arrest at Jamshedpur. Several districts witnessed Bandh, like Garwha, Kodarma, Dumka, Latehar, Devgarh, Ramgarh, Lohardagga, Gumla, etc where we played a leading role. In all around 2000 activists courted arrest throughout the state. Rail roko and court arrest took place at Barwadih.
Bihar- In suppport of the Strike, CPI(ML) MLAs boycotted the Assembly. In Bhojpur region a Chakka Jam was organised for 2 hours at various points, in which agricultural labourers participated in large numbers. Arrah town (including collectorate) observed a complete bandh. In Gaya and Bhagalpur, thousands of construction workers observed strike and took out rallies along with others sections of unorganised workers under the banner of AICCTU. In Patna, an impressive rally of construction workers and State Govt. employees was held ending in court arrest at Dak Bunglow Chowk. In Bihar Sharif, a rally of Bidi and construction workers was held with a participation of around 350. The strike was complete among state govt. employees in both Bihar and Jharkhand. In several districts including Patna torch light processions were also held the day before the strike.
Assam- Around 500 of our activists courted arrest throughout the state. The Strike was good among tea garden workers and near total in Tinsukia region. Several districts observed Bandh. The other 2 major sectors, Oil and Power observed total strike.
Tamil Nadu- Around 2000 workers courted arrest during demos and rallies in 13 districts. In Chennai, we courted arrest at 5 places.
Pondicherry- A near-total Bandh took place among state govt. employees. All our affiliated unions took active participation in strike and picketed at 6 points including road-block and rail roko at one point each. The LPG Bottling plant where we have unions remained closed. Construction workers also observed the strike.
Karnataka- An impressive workers’ rally of around 250 was held in Bangalore and another rally of 200 was held at HP Halli at Bellary. In Gangawati, a demonstration of 50 workers was held.
Orissa- At several places like Bhuvneshwar, Rayagada, Rourkela we played leading role in implementing the Bandh. At Rourkela, 53 workers courted arrest led by NK Mohanty. In total 500 activists courted arrest.
U.P.- Rallies were held in several cities, like Lucknow, Anpara, Robertsganj, Kanpur and Allahabad. In front of LML factory, the Kanpur road was blocked with the participation of LML workers led by AICCTU leader Babu Lal. The strike was near total among state govt. employees.
Gujarat- We played a leading role in organising the strike in Sabarkantha district particularly among ceramic industry and Ambuja group company. A dharna was also held at collectorate.
Delhi- An impressive “Save DTC” rally of DTC employees (including contract drivers) was held from DTC HQ to Delhi Secretariat under the banner of AICCTU to protest against the policy of privatization of Shiela Dixit govt. The rallyists also blocked road at two points during the march. AITUC workers also participated in the rally. This apart, AICCTU played a leading role in organising strike in industrial areas of Patparganj, Jhilmil and adjoining industrial area of Narela. In Noida an impressive joint rally by AICCTU& CITU was organised.
Maharashtra- AICCTU’s friend organisation Maharashtra Rajya Sarva Shramik Sanghthana organised a successful strike in sugar industry, in several factories and Municipalities in four districts. Agricultural workers also participated in strike in large numbers.
Rajasthan- AICCTU along with other central TUs held an impressive rally in Jaipur with a participation of more than 2000 workers and blocked traffic at various places.
Punjab- Thousands of brick-kiln, construction and agricultural workers stopped work and took out rallies at several places like Bhikhi, Moud (Bhatinda), Mansa, Sunam (Sangrur) and Ludhiana.
W. Bengal- The day before the strike AICCTU staged demos in and around areas of IT sector, protesting specifically against repression on the peasants of Singur and in protest against W. Bengal CM Buddhdeb to “keep IT sector out” of 14 December General Strike.