India: Support 22nd August bank workers strike – build for a general strike

The Bank workers of India are going on a one day strike at an all India level on 22 August. This collective action comes at a crucial juncture of India’s political, economic and social life. In fact this is the second time (the first one was February 2017) since demonetisation that the Bank workers have declared their defiance against the economic policies of NDA/BJP regime led by Modi.

 The New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India) considers this decision to go on strike by the Bank Workers Unions as a very important development in the light of the economic hardship that working people of this country are facing after the two policy disasters of demonetisation and GST (Goods and Services Tax) imposed on the people by the Modi‘s regime.

Bank workers (all categories ranging from worker to officers) of 9 different unions have joined under the banner of United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) and have unitedly declared this industrial action, with a 17 point charter of demands, the majority of which concentrate on policies that affect the entire Indian population.

The policy fiasco of demonetisation and the imposition of the GST has fatally affected the life of the poor in this country, throwing tens of thousands out of their jobs, and more than 100 people died during the weeks of chaos of demonetisation, including around 13 bank workers who died due to unprecedented stress and pressure of work.

In the light of a paradoxical situation, where in this so called “parliamentary democracy” the entire opposition suffers a political paralysis, the very task of repelling the increasing authoritarianism of the BJP government falls on the shoulders of the organised battalions of the working population.

Very importantly amongst the 17 points list of demands the bank workers under the banner of the UFBU (United Forum of Bank Unions) have demanded the reversal of privatisation as the first priority.

The entire working class people have been burdened by this neoliberal economic disaster across the spectrum of all public sector industries and services. This disaster of privatisation descended on the people of India along with 1991 neo-liberal reforms which are essentially anti people and pro rich.

While the public sector is weakened, neglected and destroyed chunk by chunk, block by block, lakhs of workers are losing jobs and are forced into modern slave labour in the informal and private sector, where wages are whimsical and working conditions are appalling.

It is in this context that the Bank Workers All India Strike is crucial; the general working class population needs to wholeheartedly support this industrial action without any reservations. Since the advent of Modi regime, which is becoming more vicious by the day, there is an enormous discontent building up amongst ordinary people against the Modi’s communal, casteist and disastrous economic policies.

Bank unions need to reach out to these sections including small traders, self-employed professionals, and the people at large to make the August 22 strike an effective one, paving the way for an all out General Strike (in the very near future) against the Modi’s crony capitalist regime, which is further enriching the life of millionaires, but destructively ruining the lives of the ordinary millions.

Support the bank workers in their fight against detrimental economic policies of the government.

  • Say no to privatisation of banks.
  • Re-nationalise all privatised industries and services under workers’ control and management.
  • NPAs (Non Performing Assets): Sequester the properties of the rich. Those businessmen/women who have robbed people’s resources are criminals – start the criminal proceedings against all NPA criminals.
  • Oppose and defeat the proposed labour reforms of the BJP government. Oppose outsourcing of permanent jobs and casualisation.
  • We demand decent liveable minimum wages of Rs. 25,000 per month for all. We demand jobs for all.
  • Compensate all those who lost lives and health due to the demonetisation fiasco, make the BJP government pay.
  • Defeat this authoritarian, communal, casteist and pro-rich government of the BJP.

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August 2017