Indian insurance workers strike to fend off privatization
It seems like the Indian government is determined to privatize the country's insurance industry by raising the limit on foreign investment to 49 per cent.
Workers say the insurance companies in India were insulated from the market meltdown that affected other insurers and they held a one-day strike to oppose privatization of five nationalized companies.
Employees of all five nationalised insurance companies across the country went on a day’s strike to protest what they termed as `the beginning of privatisation of insurance sector’.The UPA Government recently introduced the Insurance Amendment bill in the Parliament to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from the current 26 per cent to 49 per cent in United India Insurance, Oriental Insurance, National Insurance, New India Insurance and Life Insurance Corporations. The strike was called by General Insurance Employees Union (GIEU) and All-India Insurance Employees Association (AIIEA).Their main demand was to merge the four general insurance companies into a single monolithic corporation because they were duplicating each other’s work. The main contention of the striking employees was that the introduction of the bill was the first step towards privatising insurance.
There is an excellent analysis of the move to privatize the insurance industry in India published in the latest edition of the national magazine Frontline.