Solidarity with Indian farmers and workers

The ITUC stands in solidarity with Indian farmers and trade unions in their joint fight against the Modi government’s agricultural liberalisation and labour law reforms, as they mark two years since the killing of four farmers protesting the proposals.

On 3 October 2021, the four farmers and a journalist were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri when a car was driven into a demonstration held in opposition to plans to de-regulate the agricultural sector, without consultation, in a way that would negatively impact farmers’ incomes.

India’s anti-farmer laws have been matched by an increase in anti-union and anti-worker policies. In response to this and in the run-up to the next general election, due to be held mid-2024, the farmers plan escalating action in partnership with Indian trade unions.

ITUC Acting General Secretary Luc Triangle said: “We stand in solidarity and support the fight of the farmers and trade unions in India. The Modi government has shown that it is instinctively anti-working people and is willing to ignore international norms and standards in this senseless, ideological drive.

“We demand that the three agricultural laws are definitively scrapped, the labour codes that favour big and foreign corporations are withdrawn, the policy of privatisation is stopped and social security is provided for all categories of informal workers.

“But more than that, the very essence of democracy in India is deteriorating. Attacks by the government on freedom of expression and freedom of religion must end, and an Indian Labour Conference must be convened urgently for tripartite discussions on the serious issues that face working people. The last conference was conducted in 2015, after having been held nearly every year since 1940.

“The ITUC Global Rights Index shows that there is a clear link between workers’ rights being upheld and the strength of any democracy. In India, the erosion of one amounts to the degradation of the other and we are with the working people of India in their fight to save their democracy. Cooperation between governments and workers’ unions is good for the economy, and it is time the Modi government realised this.”