Skip to main content

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!
---
Click here for the signatory organisations

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Union budget 'mum' on relief to marginalised communities facing climate change impact

Counterview Desk  ActionAid, an international advocacy group which claims to work for a world without poverty, patriarchy and injustice, has wondered if the Union budget 2023-24, which is being acclaimed for providing succour to the middle classes, has anything to offer to the India's poor. In a statement, it said, while the budget may have "prioritised inclusive development", the financial outlay for ensuring it "does not show the zeal as hoped." Stating that the Finance Minister said Rs 35,000 crore revenue would have to be "forgone" due to a reduction in personal income taxes, "fiscal prudence is not enough to expand public employment, social security, welfare, education and health expenditures considerably." "The need of the hour is to raise revenues through the reduction of revenues forgone and innovative mechanisms such as wealth tax on super accumulation of wealth", it added. Text: The Union Budget 2023 has given significant

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

New rules to make lakhs of tribals vulnerable to summary eviction: NAPM tells MPs

Counterview Desk  The top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has said that the new Forest (Conservation) Rules 2022, pending in Parliament and may be passed any day in the current Budget session, needs to be “strongly opposed” in Parliament. These Rules will allow easy diversion of forest land for projects and companies without the consent of gram sabhas and will allow the eviction of forest communities without the recognition of forest rights”, it alleged.

Lack of welfare schemes, BSF curbs force West Bengal farmers to migrate far away

Counteview Desk  In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, a senior West Bengal based activist has complained that villagers living near the border with Bangladesh are forced to migrate to as far away as Mumbai and Kerala because of lack of government sensitivity towards their welfare in original villages. Giving specific instances, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, if the Border Security Force (BSF) had not put any restriction on agricultural activities, and if villages had properly implemented welfare schemes, these people would never migrate to other States. Text: I want to attract your immediate attention to the inhumane condition of the migrated workers of Gobra village, Swarupnagar Block in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to seek your urgent intervention to protect the rights of these people. Gobra is a village situated near the Indo-Bangladesh Border where the border fencing is about 500 meters i

FSSAI 'refusing to empower' citizens to have their right to informed choice on GMO

Counterview Desk  The advocacy group Coalition for a GM-Free India in response to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India's FSSAI’s) “weak forms” for licensing of GM foods, has insisted on the need to have “strong regulations to ensure safe food for citizens”. Stating that this form is different from the FSSAI GM draft regulation which had come out recently for which it had shared its response, the NGO network said in letter to Pushp Vanam, joint director, Science and Standards, FSSAI, it is problematic that these forms were not shared at the same time as the GM regulation draft as it would have enabled more people who read and respond to it. Text: This is in regards to the notification from FSSAI asking for inputs on the forms. We find it problematic that these forms were not shared at the same time as the GM Regulation draft as it would have enabled more people who read and responded on the regulation draft to have been able to comment on the forms too. Our response to the