The strike is a protest against the new legislation adopted on January 2nd. de facto verdend on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, giving the opportunity to millions of workers to protest the high prices and high unemployment rate, what we talked about "The Indian rail network has announced 63,000 job openings … 19 million people have applied."
John Dayal, Secretary General of the All India Christian Council, said AsiaNews that the event was exceptional, "one of the largest ever organized in the country, planned in advance to the smallest detail."For him, the most important is that it" takes place on the eve of general elections that will mark the destiny of the Prime Minister ".
While the massive strike has unfolded in a general climate of calm, numerous incidents have confirmed that social anger in the second most populous country in the world is also approaching a breaking point: protesters have blocked several towns, clashes took place and damage was reported; A 57-year-old woman died in Mundagod, a city in northern Karnataka, during a local protest. In Maharashtra, more than 5,000 workers blocked the Mumbai-Baroda-Jaipur-Delhi highway. In Pondicherry (Pondicherry), on the east coast, protesters threw stones at a Tamil Nadu state bus. Transport services have been closed and rail services have been interrupted in Kerala. In Odisha (Orissa), shops, schools, offices and markets were closed for 48 hours. In West Bengal, protesters burned the effigies of Prime Minister Modi.
The national strike was an initiative of the Central Trade Unions (CTU), an Indian trade union federation. Unions oppose the 2018 Trade Union (Amendment) Bill, which amends the 1926 Trade Union Act.
By law, union recognition is mandatory at the national and national levels. However, the workers believe that the new law gives the government a discretionary power to recognize workers' organizations, effectively eliminate the ongoing bargaining process involving employees, employers and the government.
The unions called for the promulgation of the Social Security Law to protect workers and a minimum wage of Rs 24,000 (over US $ 340) for the unorganized transport sector.
Workers in banking, insurance, health, education, transport, electricity and coal also joined the strike. Groups of students also protested, as well as farmers' associations who threatened to call a gramin hart, a rural strike. Farmers have been protesting for months against the harsh conditions in the countryside, burdened by debt and a wave of suicides.
Tapan Sen, secretary-general of the Indian Trade Union Center (CITU), one of the workers' organizations on strike, blamed Prime Minister Modi's government for destroying the labor culture in the country's public sectors. favoring private actors in major manufacturing contracts.
The unions also alleged that the government had failed to create jobs and had totally ignored the union's twelve-point charter of demands, in addition to aggressively demanding a fixed-term job and a change in Trade Union Law, all of which are against the interests of workers, according to the Economic Times.
S addressing the media after the two-day strike, Amarjeet Kaur, of AITUC, said that nearly eight states had witnessed a total closure, mainly in northeastern Kerala, Bihar and in Goa. More than 20 crore workers participated in the strike.
The massive strike is reaching a turning point for India, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but does not generate enough jobs for its educated young population.
A recent Washington Post According to this article, the number of people aged 15 to 34 in India is expected to reach 480 million by 2021. They have a higher literacy level and stay in school longer than anyone else. other previous generation. The influx of young people could be a huge opportunity for the country if he could find a way to put them to work. But employment trends in the country remain bleak.
An analysis by Azim Premji University shows that unemployment increased between 2011 and 2016 in almost all Indian states. Unemployment rates for young people and graduates of higher education have also risen sharply. For example, for college graduates, it went from 4.1% to 8.4%.
Ajit Ghose, an economist at Delhi's Institute for Human Development, said the country needed to create jobs not just for 6 to 8 million new employees, but also for people who, like women, work less that they would not be there if they could find a job at a living wage. The same economist notes that India has about 104 million "surplus" workers.
Developing the labor market as much is a difficult task for all government, not just in India. Modi's record of job creation also remains somewhat mysterious as the country has not provided national employment data since 2016. Ministries of labor and statistics have conducted surveys of Indian households, but the results have not been made public.
Amit Basole, an economist at Azim Premji University, said: "Anyone will guess if employment statistics will be published before the 2019 elections."
What happens after this unprecedented show of force by Indian workers? Probably more: the unions threatened to go on strike last week with an indefinite strike if the government ignored their demands. The secretary general of one of the unions, HMS, said the unions had collectively decided to go on strike indefinitely if the government did not react to the "historic" strike this time.
If this happens, India's record as one of the fastest growing economies in the world will soon be tarnished. On the whole, popular – and populist – discontent worldwide is spreading rapidly, affecting not only developed countries (Trump, Brexit, most European countries), but also developing countries. .
It's unclear if the unions will get what they want, but one thing is certain: India's even more populous neighbor, China, is following very closely these reluctant developments of the workers and doing all that who is in his power to prevent his own population from not having the same ideas.