"NUPGE joins the many voices in Canada and around the world condemning the violence against peaceful protestors and expressing solidarity with the farmers, workers, and other activists who are standing up for their rights, their livelihoods, and for future generations." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Ottawa (16 Dec. 2020) — The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is expressing solidarity with the farmers in India who have taken to the streets to reject new agricultural reforms. They are fighting for their livelihoods — and for the people they feed.
New laws would devastate farmer livelihoods
Hundreds of thousands of farmers have been demonstrating, primarily in the northern states of Punjab and Haryana, in opposition to 3 agricultural reform bills.
It is expected that the new laws, hurriedly passed in September, and likely to go into effect in December, would deregulate the agricultural system. They loosen rules around pricing, sale, and storage of produce that have protected farmers from volatile global markets (BBC News). Given that over half of India’s workforce is in the farming sector, these changes will have widespread effects (CBC News).
These changes will disadvantage small farmers and benefit large corporations (National Observer). India's Modi government is claiming the new laws will boost “efficiency,” which we know is a code for tipping the scales towards the big corporate players.
More information on the bills, their implications for farmers, and why it matters to Canadians can be found in this backgrounder prepared by Canada’s National Farmers Union.
In talks with the Indian government, farm leaders have been holding firm in their demand that the government must repeal the laws. As protestors marched to New Delhi, the peaceful protesters have been met with violence from police.
Global support for farmers continues to grow
Around the world, including in Canada, we have seen demonstrations of support for the farmers and their unwavering demands.
"NUPGE joins the many voices in Canada and around the world condemning the violence against peaceful protestors," said Larry Brown, NUPGE's President, "and expressing solidarity with the farmers, workers, and other activists who are standing up for their rights, their livelihoods, and for future generations."
"And NUPGE calls on the Canadian government and elected officials to continue speaking out on the situation to keep the spotlight on the Modi government and the concerns of the farmers."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE