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Farmers, workers 'left' at the mercy of market, corporates: Call for solidarity action

Counterview Desk

In a call to workers organisations for solidarity action in support of the protesting farmers, more than 40 trade unions and labour associations have claimed that the Government of India’s sole aim is to “push big corporate control over all aspects of farming, especially to allow farm produce to be bought by big corporates at low prices”.
Insisting that the government should accept the farmers’ demand of an unconditional roll back of all the three “anti-farmer” bills, the TUs, under the banner of Working Peoples’ Charter Network (WPC), said, the recent four labour codes to “reform labour laws” also gives no hope to either organised working class or over 400 million informal workers, who feel “cheated” as they have been “left to the mercy of the ‘market’.”
“Such control over farmers and workers’ lives will have far reaching implications on commodity prices, financial structure, wages, public health and environment”, it added in a statement.

Text:

We, representatives of workers organisations, stand in solidarity with the historic farmers' protest in India and extend our full support to their demands. We appeal to the government to accept the farmers demands.
The unprecedented unity of the farmers, and the determination and militancy of the struggle has deeply impressed people across classes and sectors in the whole country. The attempts of a section of the ruling party and government to paint those who produce food for the nation, as terrorists and anti-nationals, has found no takers beyond their own camp followers. When such large numbers of farmers who are the food producers of the country, are on the streets, people in the country have to listen to them and their concerns, and support their just demands,
On June 5, 2020, amidst the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, the Government of India hastily passed three ordinances namely Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. By September 2020, these ordinances were made into law without sufficient parliamentary discussion or any talks with the farmer’s representative and its potential repercussions on their lives.
The laws and the entire farm policy of the government is an attempt to push big corporate control over all aspects of farming, especially to allow farm produce to be bought by big corporates at low prices. The farmers are demanding an unconditional roll back of all the three bills. The government prefers to indulge in a battle of wills with the farmers, rather than engaging with their demands. On the other hand they are waging a propaganda war against the farmers.
The movement has stayed strong, and it has inspired and awakened consciousness across all segments of society. A large number of marginal farmers are also informal workers. The rural poor travel to far off destinations from their homes in search of work to support their families back home.
We saw the sheer numbers involved when thousands of migrant workers took to the highways, walking hundreds of miles back to their homes during the Covid lockdown when they were left stranded without income and without shelter. Most of the workers in the informal sector are also victims of the deep agrarian crisis. 
Farmers and workers are both producers and consumers. Controlling them will provide dictating powers in the hands of few corporations
Without access to jobs, or land and decent livelihood, the poor in the rural areas are forced to leave their homes in search of work and income. In the cities to which they go, many of them are barely earning a minimum wage, have no security of employment and are deprived of protection of labour legislations. 
The agrarian crisis and the struggle for survival of the farmers is our battle also! Workers and farmers must stand together!
The government has recently passed four labour codes to ‘reform labour laws’. One of the key promises of these reforms was to include over 400 million informal workers who were ignored by all governments to date. Though informal workers were given hopes, they soon realized that they have cheated once again under the garb of illusionary reform, and again left to the mercy of the ‘market’.
The farm laws bills lead to greater control on the farm and labour market by the big corporations. Such control over farmers and worker lives will have far reaching implications on commodity prices, financial structure, wages, public health and environment. Farmers and workers are both producers and consumers. Such control will provide dictating powers in the hands of few corporations, leaving the majority of farmers and workers in unimaginable distress.
At this historical juncture we call upon all workers organisations, whether in the informal sector or formal sector, to join an All India Workers Sangharsh Coordination Group (AIWSCG) to join farmers' protest, in support of the demand to withdraw the three laws. 
We, as part of AIWSCG, unanimously resolve to join the farmer movement in solidarity, to demand the repeal the three anti- farmer laws.
We further demand that informal workers in the urban and rural sector should have guaranteed minimum wages, social security and timely payment of wages.
Jai Mazoor, Jai Kisan! Mazdoor Kisan ekta zindabad!
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Click here for the signatory organisations

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