A historic all India National convention of workers and farmers held in Talkatora Stadium in Delhi decides to launch joint struggles by workers and farmers against privatisation, labour codes and for legal guarantee for MSP, among others.
New Delhi, 24 August 2023 : In a historic display of unity and determination, the All India Joint Convention of Workers and Farmers was held today at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi. The convention was called by Samyukta Kisan Morcha and Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions, representing farmers and workers from across the nation.
The Convention began by addressing the alarming situation created by the aggressive pro-corporate policies pursued by the Union Government since 2014. These anti-worker, anti-farmer, anti-people, and anti-national policies have resulted in disastrous consequences for the economy, unity, and integrity of the nation.
The Convention highlighted the agricultural crisis in India due to the pro-corporate and anti-farmer policies of the Union Government, which has resulted in falling incomes and rising indebtedness and suicides among the farmers. The Convention recognized the historic 13-month long struggle led by Samyukta Kisan Morcha against the three farm laws, which demonstrated the farmer’s resolve against adversity, including oppression, abuses, harsh weather, and the COVID pandemic. The convention noted that despite written assurances, the Union Government has failed to honour commitments made to the farmers regarding Minimum Support Price (MSP) and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill.
The Convention also raised the challenges faced by the workers and labourers, with rising unemployment, declining job security, and increasing prices of essential goods. The erosion of workers’ rights through the new labour codes, and the deteriorating condition of agricultural and migrant workers, who lack social security and are pushed into poverty, was also highlighted.
The Convention strongly condemned the Government’s privatization policies, impacting sectors from public sector enterprises to education, and banking. The tax cuts and loan waivers given to corporates while burdening common citizens with higher taxes and reduced social welfare benefits was raised. The erosion of the federal structure of the nation, divisive communal policies, and attempts to stifle dissent were denounced.
Recognizing the success of joint struggles such as the farmers’ movement, the united actions of electricity employees, and workers protests in BPCL, CEL, and steel plants, the Convention called for heightened coordination to challenge the anti-worker and anti-farmer policies. The Convention culminated in the formulation of a Charter of Demands, encompassing issues such as implementation of written assurances made by the Union Government including the legal guarantee of MSP; withdrawal of PMFBY and establishing a comprehensive Public Sector Crop Insurance Scheme for all crops, implementing a comprehensive farm loan waiver, controlling price rise and removal of GST on essential items; guaranteeing food security; ensuring universal access to education and healthcare; introducing a national minimum wage, ending privatization and NMP, implementing a comprehensive social security for all workers, restoring Old Pension Scheme, taxing the super rich; enhancing corporate tax; re-introducing wealth tax and succession tax, etc.
A nationwide call to action was also announced, including observing the 3rd of October as a Black Day to remember the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre of farmers in 2021 and organizing a Mahapadav in front of Raj Bhawan in every state capital from 26th to 28th November. Determined and massive protest actions are also planned for December 2023 and January 2024.
The Convention concluded with a resolute call to the farmers, workers and the toiling masses of the country to unite against the destructive policies of the Government and to safeguard the interests of workers, farmers, and the common people. In a joint declaration, the farmers and workers organisations said, “Privatisation is central to the policies of this government. When sale of cash cows like BPCL, CEL, Air India, Pawan Hans etc., was not picking up at the pace they wanted, the Government came up with National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) project, handing over various public sector assets, built with people’s money, to big corporates to make money without any investments! Airports, Highways, Ports, Railway tracks, stations everything is up for grabs.”
The convention decided to launch “joint and coordinated struggles” to ensure that no government — Centre or state — “dares to impose anti-worker and anti-farmers policies.”
The declaration of the convention: