The Hampshire UNISON Branch Committee recently passed the motion below:
India Labour Solidarity (ILS) is a new initiative to promote solidarity between workers and their trade union and labour movements in the UK and India.
The Tory government is pushing to deepen trade, industrial and business relations between the two countries. At the same time India is slashing back basic labour rights through a new set of ‘Labour Codes’, for example doing away with the eight-hour working day. This is being done alongside a wave of attacks on human rights, and the rights of minorities and people from oppressed castes, by the Indian government and the right-wing nationalist forces driving it. The Tories have close links with India’s government and the Hindu right.
The farmers’ and workers’ struggles that pushed back the Modi government in 2021 show that these forces are not invincible. But our sisters and brothers in India urgently need solidarity.
Right-wing governments across the globe ‘learn’ from each other – repression of labour struggles in one country can have ripple effects. Conversely, victories for workers in one country can help workers in others. Cross-border labour solidarity is key for leveraging national governments to stop undermining hard-won labour rights all over the world.
ILS is a collective of concerned UK labour movement members and citizens working in and with UK trade unions, Labour Party and other labour movement organisations to:
• raise awareness in the British labour movement and left of social and human rights struggles, particularly workers’ struggles, in India; and work to generate solidarity
• raise awareness of how globalisation of, for example, supply chains necessitates stronger solidarity between workers in Britain and India
MOTION: Support working people’s struggles in India!
The branch notes:
1. That India, the world’s second largest country, has extensive connections with the UK – including the Tories’ active support for its far-right BJP government. 2. The struggle between working people’s organisations and Indian capitalism’s economic and political elites, reinforced by right-wing Hindu nationalism, including during the 2020-21 farmers’ battle against the Modi government’s pro-corporate agricultural reforms. 3. That in 2020 India’s parliament passed sweeping new “labour codes” attacking workers’ rights even in the “formal” 20% of the economy where certain basic rights exist. 4. That the 2022 International Trade Union Confederation Global Rights Index notes that working people protesting in India are regularly arrested, detained, tortured and murdered. The branch believes:
1. That the Tories’ push for a new trade deal with India comes in the context of their indifference to attacks there on human rights, workers’ rights, the rights of minorities, and basic civil liberties. 2. That while the UK Foreign Office is surreally praising India for its futuristic green vision, protests are surging against the London Science Museum’s funding by the India-based global Adani coal mining group, strongly backed by the Indian government. 3. That, in addition to the contribution of super-exploited labour in India to the UK economy, British firms working/trading in India are likely to learn from their Indian counterparts and lobby to further undermine workers’ rights here. The branch welcomes:
1. The establishment of India Labour Solidarity (ILS), to promote solidarity with India’s workers’, working people’s and social justice movements in the UK Labour and trade union movements.
The branch resolves:
1. To invite India Labour Solidarity to speak.
2. To circulate information about the campaign, about working people’s struggles in India, and about how they connect to workers’ struggles and interests here, to members.