Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Joint Statement Supporting General Strike

Joint Statement Supporting General Strike

New Delhi, February 19: We the undersigned women's organisations, express our solidarity with and offer whole hearted support for the historic general strike call given by all central trade unions on 20-21 February, 2013. This strike is a culmination of a series of actions that have highlighted the worsening conditions of the working people under the neo-liberal economic policy regime.  These policies have resulted in the increasing withdrawal of the state from basic social welfare services, rising prices, food insecurity and rising malnutrition, increasing informalisation of work and declining real wages, and the adverse changes in labour laws. These trends impact all working families and place additional burden on women. We therefore join the struggle for the reversal of the policies of the UPA II government and support the main demands of the trade unions which are:

1.  Control of the prices of essential commodities

2.  Universalisation of the public distribution.

3.  Equal pay for equal work.

4.  Minimum wages of Rs. 10,000 per month for all unskilled and casual workers; and corresponding increases for other workers.

5.  Regularisation of all contract workers in private enterprises and government schemes.

6.  Rights of all workers to form unions and associations.

In addition to these main demands that have great relevance for the basic rights of all women workers (more than 80 per cent of whom do paid and unpaid work in the informal economy), the women's organisations also use the opportunity to press for their long standing demands including:

1.   The recognition of women in the informal sector as 'workers' like home-based and domestic workers amongst others.

2.    Expanding the scope and the coverage of social security benefits for all women workers.

3.    Enactment and strengthening of laws to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace in both public and private enterprises.

4.    Provisions for ensuring security of all working women at their work place.

5.    Reversal of changes in labour laws that adversely impact women.

The women's organisations call upon the women to intensify their struggl
e to press for these demands and urge them to participate in the strike in large numbers and extend their whole heartedly support the General Strike of 20-21 February, 2013.

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