Workers of All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), marched from Kanyakumari and Coimbatore to Chennai to demand for a special Assembly session to discuss burning issues facing Tamil Nadu workers, including migrant workers and women workers. The workers were on a 10 day march from Kanyakumari and Coimbatore to Chennai from February 2 to 12. The meeting was attended by about 250-300 people in Tana Street, Purasawalkam, Chennai.
The AICCTU is one of the unions that is participating in the All India General Strike to be held on February 20 and 21. This march was also to mobilise support for the general strike.
Swapan Mukherjee, all India Secretary of AICCTU who was mobilising support for the general strike with a yatra from Delhi, Bihar to Jharkhand called “for total shut down” on the days of the strike. He said that a strong message should be sent out to Jayalalitha who allies with communal leaders like Modi, who have all been against worker unions.
Prices were rising, but wages were not said Mukherjee, calling for a peaceful siege of Rajpath the united workers of India! More and more workers are being employed on a casual basis, he said that all central trade unions have decided to fight to stop this practice. Further, he said that the general strike will demand for a minimum wage of atleast Rs 10,000 per month for workers.
He cited that despite a court decision upholding the fundamental principle of “equal pay for equal work”, the distinction between permanent and contract employees remains. He appealed to the shopkeepers who lined Tana Street to support their struggle against FDI in multi-brand retail.
Com S.Kumarasamy, accused the Tamil Nadu government of posturing animosity against the central governement, while disregarding more than 55 lakh construction workers’ pension demands. He said that it was clear that the Neoliberal Central and State Governments were in fact in collusion to protect the capitalists.
Com. Venkatachalam and Com. Malarvizhi from All India Students’ Association called for more public sector undertakings in primary and secondary education.
The workers who marched to Chennai made the following demands to be addressed in a special Assembly session:
- Jayalalitha should admit the 16 farmer suicides in the Cauvery Delta.
- NREGA should be extended to 150 days, at Rs 300 wage per day.
- At least 2 persons from each family should be employed by the government.
- Job-seeking youth should be aided by a Rs 5000 monthly welfare stipend.
- Young girls apprenticing under the Sumangali scheme should get wages on par with permanent workers.
- Rs 15,000 should be the minimum wage for public sector workers.
According to Senbagavalli, member of All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) from Villipuram taluk, about a hundred workers participated in each of the marches to Chennai.