Unions call for all-India strike on Sept 2

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 27, 2018

Threaten stir against Haryana ‘anti-labour’ Bills

Eleven central trade unions, including the RSS-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), supported by various independent federations, on Wednesday gave a call for a countrywide strike on September 2, to protest against the Centre’s “negative” attitude toward workers.

Last year, too, the unions, except BMS, had held a general strike in protest against anti-labour laws, privatisation, growing use of contracts, and higher minimum wages among their 12 demands.

The decision for an all-India strike was taken at a national convention held here, attended by unions such as INTUC, CITU, AITUC, SEWA and HMS, among others, and associations from sectors, such as telecom, railways, banks, insurance, defence, electricity, postal, coal, plantations, road transport and scheme workers.

Decrying the “Prime Minister’s Office’s (PMO) written communication to State chief secretaries,” the trade unions alleged that State governments were being “directed to carry out Rajasthan-type pro-management labour law changes on the pretext of facilitating “ease of doing business.”

To show how the Modi government was “legitimising violations”, the convention cited the “Labour Secretary’s executive order issued on January 12, granting exemption to so-called start-up enterprises from labour inspections and application of nine labour laws.”

“In the garb of tripartite negotiations at the Central level, the Modi government is moving through the PMO and is directing State governments to amend labour laws,” said a union leader from Haryana. He said he had information that the BJP government in Haryana had moved two “anti-labour” Bills on Wednesday, “copies of which were distributed only after 10.30 this morning to the MLAs.”

Haryana Bills

“Today (Wednesday), the Haryana government is tabling two labour Bills in the Assembly — on the Industrial Disputes Act and the Industrial Employment Standing Order, which governs service conditions,” said a leader of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), adding that all unions in the State had decided to “burn copies of the Bills in protest on Thursday and intensify their struggle.”

In addition, several unions in the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt, which houses hundreds of factories of companies, such as Maruti Suzuki, Imperial Auto, Orient Craft, Motherson Sumi and Rico, announced a joint meeting on April 4 in Gurgaon to chalk out their future course of action after the imposition of Section 144 to prevent any “unlawful gathering” of workers.

“We are not even allowed to meet in parks,” said an auto worker from Gurgaon.

Published on March 30, 2016

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