Interview with S.S. Thiyagarajan, AITUC

A brief interview with S.S.Thiyagarajan, National Vice President of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) on the nationwide protests on December 18th,19th 2012 against Government’s anti worker policies.

What is the reason for this protest?

This protest is part of a series of actions planned by central trade unions. Since 1981 when the process of globalization has started, central trade unions have been working together to oppose the policies of the Government. So far, we have conducted 14 general strikes. Over 28 central trade unions and public sector employee associations have joined together and conducted a national strike on 28th Feb 2012. On Sep, 4th in a national convention held in Delhi under Sanjeeva Reddy, convenor, we have decided to protest a jail bharo/road roko protests over 18th and 19th of this month. On 20th, there will be a massive march towards the parliament in Delhi and in Feb 20th and 21st of 2013, we plan to do national general strike.

The demands for the strike include containment of price rise, no disinvestment in public sector units and financial sector, no FDI in retail and other sectors, decent allocation of funds for welfare of agricultural and unorganized sector workers, nationalized minimum monthly wage of Rs 10000, prevent violations of labour laws and implementation of labour laws.

Dr. Manmohan Singh has called for flexible labour market and amendment of labour laws to improve job growth in the country. How do you see these changes in the policies?

We totally oppose the labour amendments and reforms in labour laws. The current policy is being implemented at the behest of MNCs and are detrimental to the working class. The government is only a tool in the hands of foreign MNCs. We are struggling to liberate the nations from MNCs (both Indian and Foreign MNCs). We therefore call for a new economic policy that would benefit the common man and would stop black money, tax evasion and corruption at all levels.

But does n’t the Indian Government seem to think the common man is the beneficiary of their economic policy. Recently Ms. Sheila Dixit has said that Rs 600 is enough to feed a family of five.

This shows that the current government has no understanding of poverty. Even in Tamilnadu where rice is given at Rs 2 per kg in PDS, people have not risen above the poverty level. In an ordinary hotel, one has to spend Rs 70 to buy food. The government pretends and wants to present a rosy picture.

Were n’t NDA and BJP no different when they were in power when they launched  shining India campaign?

All leading parties have similar policies,. When one party is in power, the opposition opposes these policies but implements the same when they come to power. They all serve the interests of the corporate. This is a class struggle.

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