Huge numbers of Indian workers joined a 24-hour strike last week against rising prices and privatisation. Action by around 100 million workers shut banks, power plants, telecommunications, airports and schools across the country.
Trade unionists from all the main federations—including the Indian National Trade Union Congress, which is affiliated to the ruling Congress Party government—united in action.
People are furious with government plans to reduce food and energy subsidies, while selling off state-owned firms and refusing to enforce existing labour laws.
The strike was almost completely solid in the states where the left is strong—such as Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura. But it also hit cities including Mumbai and New Delhi, where unorganised groups, including autorickshaw drivers and construction workers, took part.
Following the success of the action, union leaders are now planning a further round of strikes. Kali Ghosh, head of the CITU federation, said, “We are considering a march on parliament which will involve several hundred thousand people.”