Warning West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee against using force to foil the September 2 countrywide strike called by central trade unions, the CITU on Sunday declared it was ready for any confrontation to make the agitation successful.
“If the chief minister seeks to wage a war against the people who have been deprived, wants to unleash her party goons on the masses, we are ready for that. If she wants a war, we are ready for that,” Shyamal Chakraborty, state president of the Centre for Indian Trade Union, said in Kolkata.
The strike called by the central trade unions is to press for their demands, including increasing minimum wage to Rs.15,000, trade unions’ representation in the process of labour reforms and equivalent wage to contract workers with their regular counterparts.
Chakraborty’s comments come in the wake of Banerjee — also the Trinamool Congress supremo — declaring that her government will not allow any kind of strike or shutdown in the state.
The trade union leader said any attempt by the Trinamool to foil the strike will expose the party’s tacit understanding with the BJP which is in power at the centre.
“The BJP has been coming out with anti-people and anti-labour policies one after the other. Everybody knows about Trinamool’s tacit understanding with the BJP and its decision to foil the strike will only be a reflection of that,” said Chakraborty.
Calling the BJP and the Trinamool ‘champions’ in throttling the voice of the deprived, Left Front chairman Biman Bose too warned that Banerjee will burn her fingers if she uses force to foil the strike.
“The chief minister will only burn her fingers if she plays with fire. Despite unleashing her brutal police, she could not stifle the voice of the opposition,” Bose said referring to the August 27 Left Front’s farmers’ rally in the city which turned violent leaving may people including policemen injured.
“We will do whatever it takes to make the strike a success. This shutdown is for the voice of the oppressed, the voice of the masses and against all the oppression which governments at the centre and the state have been unleashing,” added Bose.
Meanwhile, Congress-affiliated labour union INTUC too has extended its support to the proposed strike.
“We met Congress president Sonia Gandhi who asserted that we should support the strike which had been called for the cause of labourers,” said INTUC president Ramen Pandey.
Chakraborty also urged the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) to reconsider its decision after it decided to opt out on Saturday.
“BMS leaders are of the view that we should give the centre some more time to consider our demands. We would, however, go ahead with the strike as proposed but urge BMS workers too to support it,” he said.