Over half a million workers marched to the Indian Parliament on December 12, 2013 demanding reversal of the neo-liberal policies that are devastating the lives of the poor and the working people. The workers took out processions from different parts of the national capital, New Delhi to converge on the Parliament Street where they were stopped by the armed police.
The massive rally of the workers was addressed by important trade union leaders. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the Union Leaders for discussions and assured them that the grievances of the working class would be seriously looked into.
The rally was jointly organized by all Central Trade Unions and a large number of independent federations. This followed the historic 48 hours strike in February this year in which more than 150 million workers participated. Protest rallies were also held on December 12 in all the provincial capitals, major cities and towns. The response to the program was overwhelming.
The trade unions are demanded the Central Government to re-visit the neo-liberal policies. These policies have widened income disparities and have created massive inequalities in the Indian society. The Unions are demanding a decent minimum wage and introduction of universal social security scheme and stopping of privatization of public sector and public services.
The government has allowed the employers especially the multinational corporations to flout the labour laws with impunity. The trade unions are asking for strict implementation of labour laws and the ratification of ILO Conventions 87 and 98 giving workers the right to organize and right to collective bargaining. The struggle is bound to intensify in the days ahead.