Labour unions plan nationwide strike on May 22
Labour unions plan nationwide strike on May 22
BL Soni

The labour organisations across the country have decided to protest against the central government and state governments for weakening labour laws on May 22. The protest will also be against the package announced by the central government, as it has not taken their plight into account.

The national leaders of all trade and labour unions will sit on a fast at Raj Ghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi in Delhi. Labour organisations will be agitating at various places in the state. State leaders will sit on fast at Hutatma Smarak in Mumbai. Labour and trade unions, like CITU, AITUC, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Bharatiya Kamgar Sena, Shramik Ekta Mahasangh, TUCC, and Sewa LPF will participate in this protest.

“All important labour and trade unions across the country have decided to jointly protest against the central government and state governments for weakening the labour laws and staying their implementation. We also want to protest against the Rs 20 lakh crore package that has cheated labourers,” Dr DL Karad, national vice president and Maharashtra state president of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions said in a press statement.

“Taking an undue advantage of the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, the centre and state governments are taking decisions not in the interest of the people. The state governments, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are diluting labour laws. The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has decided to stay the implementation of 38 labour laws. BJP’s government in Madhya Pradesh has exempted the implementation of labour laws in new industries. BJP governments in Karnataka and Gujarat have also hinted to take such anti-labour decisions. Eight state governments have increased the working hours to 12 hours. The UP and Gujarat governments have issued orders not to pay overtime for this additional work, but to pay by the regular rate. The court forced the UP government to withdraw the 12 hours work policy decision,” Dr Karad stated.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not given anything for the working class in his Rs 20 lakh crore package. Out of this package, only Rs 3,20,900 crore will be spent by the central government and rest Rs 16.60 lakh crore will be given as a loan. The package has totally ignored the plight of thousands of migrants who are walking hungry and dying on the road. The union government has not accommodated any suggestion given by the opposition parties and labour unions,” he added.

Labour organisations have made following demands:

- Central and state governments should restore the illegal changes in the labour laws. The working hours should be eight hours.

- Labourers should get salaries for the lockdown period without any deduction.

- The transport arrangements for migrant labourers should be made so that they can reach their home safely.

- Their food, water and medicine supply should be taken care of.

- Families not paying Income Tax should be give immediate help of Rs 7,500.

- Cancel the decision of freezing Dearness Allowance.

- Spend 5 per cent of GDP on the health sector.

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