Let us resolutely and unitedly fight back the onslaught on our rights!

Call of the Mazdoor Ekta Committee, May 18, 2020

Comrade workers,

The capitalist class is using the state of emergency declared by the Central government in the name of the Coronavirus pandemic to unleash an unprecedented onslaught on our rights.

India is confronted with a disaster of massive proportions. Crores of workers have lost their jobs, their source of livelihood as a result of the declaration of country wide lockdown which is about to complete two months. Crores of hungry, unemployed workers, deprived of a roof over their heads, are marching towards their villages thousands of miles away, through fields, forests, rail tracks and highways. Hundreds of men, women and children have died on the way, as a result of hunger, exhaustion or in accidents.

The cruelty of the rulers of our country knows no bounds. The health workers, sanitation workers, transport workers and workers of other essential services are already endangering their lives in helping society deal with the coronavirus disease. The lockdown has resulted in massive loss of livelihood for crores of workers, peasants and working people. Not content with all this, our rulers now want to force the working class to shoulder the entire burden of the crisis.

The Central and state governments are cynically using the lockdown to launch all-sided attacks on the rights of working class. They are doing so at the behest of the capitalist class. All the changes in labour laws that the Indian and foreign capitalists have been demanding of successive governments are now being offered to them on a silver platter. The changes we workers have been demanding of successive governments, in defence of our livelihood and rights, have been completely ignored.

State governments such as UP, MP and Gujarat have passed ordinances according to which workers will be deprived of many existing rights. Ten state governments have already issued executive orders to increase the working week from 48 to 72 hours and the working day from 8 to 12 hours.

Alongside of this, the Central government is busy announcing policy measures to fulfill the demands of Indian and foreign capitalists, such as increase in FDI limits in defence sector, privatization in various sectors and opening up agricultural trade to Indian and foreign multinationals.

The ruling capitalist class and its political representatives are thinking that they can stifle the working class through the lockdown and ban on political gatherings. They are thinking that they can get away with the onslaught on our rights. They are mistaken. We will not allow our voices to be muzzled.

The Central Trade Unions have announced their decision to organize an all India protest day on May 22, to express the united opposition of the workers of our country to the onslaught of the government on our rights.

Mazdoor Ekta Committee calls upon all its members to work vigorously to make the May 22 All India actions a success in every state of our country.

We are reprinting the joint statement of ten central trade unions released on May 15, 2020.