BMS to seek Opposition MPs’ help against Centre’s move on labour laws

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on May 27, 2020

Five key points including plight of migrant workers, unfair labour laws to be brought up

Distressed by the lack of response from the BJP-led governments at the Centre and various States, the RSS-backed trade union Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has decided to approach Opposition party MPs to put pressure on the governments to revoke recent anti-worker labour law amendments.

A meeting of the national office bearers, State general secretaries and federation general secretaries of the BMS, chaired by its President, CK Saji Narayanan, has decided to approach all Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members on five key issues, including the pathetic condition of migrant workers, huge job losses, refusal to pay wages, unilateral suspension of labour laws and increase of working time to 12 hours, apart from unbridled privatisation.

Critical of other trade unions’ decision to approach International Labour Organisation (ILO), Narayanan said that such a move should have been taken after exhausting all options available in the country.

Political lines crossed

Narayanan told BusinessLine after the meeting that a detailed memorandum will be submitted to each MP, cutting across party lines.

He said district level leaders of BMS will meet MPs even if they belong to Congress or Left parties to press the agenda. “This step is in national interest. Workers are going through severe distress. Job and wage losses will have huge repercussions on the national economy,” he said.

“On June 15-30, BMS activists will contact Parliament members on the five major problems that are confronting labour due to Covid-19 measurers, to pressurise the governments to change its perceptions and policies,” said BMS’ General Secretary, Virjesh Upadhyay.

Upadhyay said the meeting expressed anguish on the three State governments — Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat — for not withdrawing the anti-worker ordinances suspending labour laws as well as the 15 State governments for increasing working time to 12 hours a day.

The BMS has also decided to step up industrial action against retrenchment and wage cuts at factory and unit level. All BMS units and industrial federation units will organise massive contact programmes to educate workers on the changes that are brought in different fields related to organised and unorganised workers, said Upadhyay.

Assisting contract workers

He added that the BMS will open help desks for migrant workers. “The help desks will give specific attention to migrant workers both at the sending States and receiving States. The meetings also resolved to start help desks to assist contract workers particularly in big industrial areas, PSUs and Government Sectors. The Unorganised sector help desks will also be started to assist agricultural workers, daily wages workers, self-employed workers, etc throughout the country,” said Upadhyay.

Published on May 27, 2020

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