350,000 garment workers, mainly women from Bangalore, Mandya, Ramanagar, and Mysore districts, walked out of their factories to protest the new EPF/Social Security policy of Indian Central Government April 18th and 19th and forced the government to accept their demands!
The protests began in a Shahi Group factory where League member Garment and Textile Workers Union (GATWU) in Bangalore has significant membership. Despite the difficulties for workers to form factory unions in Bangalore, leading to only around 3% union density for the around 600,000 garment workers, a huge majority of workers joined the protests that began the morning of April 18th to protest the government's policy changes. By the evening of April 19th, the government was forced to give in to the workers' demands and rescind its EPF policy in an history victory for Bangalore women garment workers the Central Indian Government!
Workers stood strong against police who attempted to repress their demonstrations bycharging at them, beating the workers, and dispensing tear gas into the crowds. Several workers were injured and they are undergoing medical treatment for the violent repressive tactics employed by the government.
The new EPF policy proposal included changes such as an increase in the retirement age, inability for workers to access social security before retirement, and partial decrease in social security compensation upon resignation.
In light of this tremendous injustice and facing violent repression, Bangalore women garment workers nevertheless took initiative to protest and have succeeded!
Solidarity with GAWTU and garment workers all over India for this historic victory!
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