Free Press Journal

Government constitutes panel to discuss trade unions’ demands


New Delhi: In view of trade unions’ strong protest against certain changes proposed in labour laws, the government has constituted an inter-ministerial panel to discuss issues raised by them in their 10-point charter.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has constituted a committee in which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Power Minister Piyush Goyal, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh and myself are included,” Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said today.

He was addressing the media at the unveiling of an exhibition cum awareness meeting. A release by the Labour Ministry said it has decided to constitute inter-ministerial committee “to hold threadbare discussions with representatives of central trade unions on 10-point charter of demands and other issues being raised by them and for recommending measures to address those issues.”

The trade unions have several demands. The ministry has already discussed these issues with them and also met them twice, Dattatreya said. “Threadbare discussions were held in which several of the demands are nearing (agreement)… Remaining demands are being discussed. They (trade union) are meeting (among themselves) tomorrow. It is now up to them, the ball is in their court. Government has already met them twice before their meeting,” he added.

Trade unions including BJP-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh are likely to announce a general strike on September 2, to protest against government’s indifference toward their 10-point agenda and unilateral labour reforms.

The formal announcement about the strike is likely to be made tomorrow at National Convention of Central Trade Unions here. “As many as 11 trade unions including BMS were unanimous to go one day strike to protest against government’s unilateral labour reforms and indifference toward 10-points charter of workers organisations,” said a person familiar with the development.

The 10-point charter demands include issues such as government’s steps to deal with price rise and unemployment. A universal social security cover for workers and stopping disinvestment of PSUs are also part of the charter.

The trade unions also oppose foreign investment in railways and defence and “unilateral” changes in labour laws. Unions have been opposing certain proposed Labour Law Amendments which encourage hire and fire policy, make it tough to set up labour unions and dilute the existing social security net available to workers.