Skip to main content

Put on hold labour law amendments through codification of labour laws: CTUs to Kovind

Counterview Desk
In a representation to Ram Nath Kovind, President of India, several Central Trade Unions (CTUs), have said that the Central government and several state governments continue to be flouted the principle of “equal pay for equal work” in the name of ease of doing business, with labour laws, in whatever form they exist, sought to be suspended for 1,000 or more days.
Pointing out that in the name of “putting the wheels of the economy back on rails”, the representation says, steps are being taken to encourage corporatization, while repeated demands by the entire trade union movement for direct income-support and adequate food support to all poor and non-income-tax-paying households is being “arrogantly ignored.”
The letter demands to put on hold any labour law amendments through codification of all labour laws in to four codes and to convene Indian Labour Conference immediately, even as scrapping all the ordinances and executive orders altering and/or suspending operation of labour laws in many states.

Text:

The sudden, unplanned national lockdown imposed by the Government of India and its administration, statedly on account of Covid-19 pandemic, catastrophically affected the working people, the migrant workers amongst them being the worst hit. 
That they simply had no life support became clear as the days passed. Even the "advisories" issued belatedly by the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Home Affairs did not help, in fact they were withdrawn by the government without being implemented.
The health system was exposed to be woefully inadequate-the private hospitals either simply refused to cap the rates, as appealed by the government, for treatment of Covid patients, stating they were uneconomical or simply closed doors. The ventilators, PPEs, sanitizer required were in extreme short supply.
Only the public health system -- the public hospitals, their doctors, their staff, the health scheme workers (ASHA Workers), anganwadi workers, the municipal sanitation workers worked tirelessly, risking their own lives, including being affected and even lost lives -- won everyone's admiration and gratitude. It were the ordnance factory workers who swung into action to produce the much needed ventilators and PPEs. The much touted private enterprise failed completely.
Then the attention turned towards putting the wheels of the economy back on rails. The steps taken in this regard by the government defy all logic and the past experience as well as the advice of renowned Indian economists.
The economy was already in recession from prior to the onset of the pandemic and was due to majority of Indian people lacking even the minimum purchasing power. It was necessary to put money in their hands. The sudden lockdown compounded the problem.
Yet what is being done? The increase in DA of government employees and DR of pensioners is withheld, labour laws, including many of Hon'ble Supreme Court’s judgments on equal pay for equal work, are flouted mostly, with inspection being curtailed in the name of “ease of doing business”.
Now even the labour laws, in whatever form they exist, were sought to be suspended for 1,000 or more days through executive orders/ordinances in many states (the ILO had to remind the government of its commitment to various ILO conventions), a slew of public sector enterprises were opened for privatisation, 100% FDI, ranging from blue chip companies such as the BPCL, LIC, Coal India, electricity sector, ordnance factories, the Railways, train routes as well as their manufacturing/repair workshops, airports, all during the continuing lockdown.
Repeated demands by trade union movement for direct income support and adequate food support to all poor and non-income-tax-paying households is being arrogantly ignored
Migrant workers were actually sought to be prevented from going back to their villages by vested interests in the private sector. Their helpless crowding of stations was treated as law and order issue! The Hon'ble Supreme Court had to intervene to direct the government to handle the issue humanely and with top priority.
Agriculture is pushed to corporatization through ordinances. The Rs 20 lakh crore package announced is once again supply-side move rather than the necessary demand-side push. Repeated demands by the entire trade union movement for direct income-support and adequate food support to all poor and non-income-tax-paying households is being arrogantly ignored.
Now it is coming to light that the ASHA workers, who did the crucial corona surveys, have not been paid at all! State governments have not been paid their share of GST. The income tax paying social strata has not been roped in to share the burden, but the non-income tax paying people are further burdened with relentless price increase of petrol and diesel. While GDP figures are bandied about as a measure of “national progress”, the question of equitable distribution is plainly ignored.
The entire trade union movement of the country has time and again raised these issues with the concerned ministries, through representations, demonstrations and even sectoral strikes. But the government is totally unresponsive. It has not even convened the Indian Labour Conference, the top most tripartite body in the country, in spite of repeated requests, since 2015.
In view of above points and issues, we the undersigned, urge you, as the Constitutional head of the Government of India for the following reliefs by directing Central and State governments to:
  1. To adequately compensate the dependents of those migrant workers, who lost their lives due to sudden lockdown effected from 12 midnight of March 25, 2020;
  2. To provide free ration to all non-income- tax-paying people for the next six months, irrespective of whether they hold any ration card; 
  3. To pay every non-income-tax-paying person Rs 7,500 pm for the next six months; and pension of Rs 3,000 per month linked to cost of living to all above 60 years of age; 
  4. To issue smart identity card to all the workers with their aadhaar card number valid throughout India which should be useful for social security benefits; 
  5. To provide a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore – a revolving annual fund for the purpose of implementing social security schemes under the provisions of UN-organised Sector Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008; 
  6. To withdraw the proposed move of the Government to convert the 41 ordnance factories into a corporation and then to privatise the same and to convert the Army Base Workshops to Government-Owned Contractor-Operated (GOCO) model by handing over these workshops to private sector; 
  7. To withdraw move for corporatisation of railway production units and handing over 109 railway routes to private Sector and privatization of railway stations; 
  8. To cancel the privatisation of public sector enterprises and services including state transport, LIC, banks, insurance, coal, BPCL, Air India, airports, telecom, ports and dock and municipal services etc. 
  9. To put on hold any labour law amendments through codification of all labour laws in to four codes and to convene Indian Labour Conference immediately; scrap all the ordinances and executive orders altering and/or suspending operation of labour laws in many states. 
  10. To invest in and expand health, education and agriculture; scrap all the three ordinances on Agriculture including on amendment of Essential Commodities Act. 
  11. To increase budgetary allocation for effective implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, increasing the job allocation for 200 days per annum and extend the similar scheme for urban areas also to address the issue of unemployment on war footing. The daily wage should be enhanced from Rs 202 to Rs 500. 
  12. To launch drive to recover loans from willful defaulters, by using criminal prosecution. 
---
*Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC ), Hind Mazdur Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Trade Union Coordination Committee (TUCC), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), United Trade Union Congress (UTUC), Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA)

Comments

TRENDING

Corporate-political party nexus? Rise and rise of Gautam Adani under Modi regime

By Sandeep Pandey*  In last five years Rs 10,09,510 crore taken as loans by various companies from banks in India have been declared as Non Performing Assets, an euphemism for writing them off. Out of this State Bank of India alone wrote off Rs 2,04,486 crore. Only about 13% of the total written off amount was recovered. Identity of the defaulting borrowers, most of whom are influential corporates, is not revealed. Compare this to the loans taken by farmers. The names of defaulting farmers is displayed on walls in tehsil offices to shame them and some unlucky ones also land up in lock-ups there. On the contrary, a few corporate defaulters have fled the country and quite curiously the authorities didn’t seize their passports like they do with some dissenting intellectuals or activists booked under mostly false cases. Now consider the donations received by political parties in the form of electoral bonds. The identity of the donor need not be revealed even to the Election Commission or i

'Extremist' US Hindu global group funding hate against Indian Churches: NGO groups

Counterview Desk  As many as 14 civil rights and faith-based organizations in co-signing a letter to the US Senators, Representatives, State Governor, and other elected officials have demanded the FBI, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Department of Justice should investigate into Texas-based organization Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) a fundraiser campaign for demolishing churches in India. Co-signed by Federation of Indian American Christian Organization in North America (FIACONA), North American Church of God, Southern Methodist University (SMU) Human Rights Program, Amnesty International - Dallas, World Without Genocide, Center for Pluralism, Genocide Watch, The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Limitless Church, Justice for All, Hindu for Human Rights, North Texas Peace Advocates, Good Citizens of DFW, and the North Texas Islamic Council, the letter has been sent to Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz; Representatives Michael C Burgess, Pat Fallon, Van Taylor, Terr

Carbon abatement to tackle climate change: India's failure has 'outpaced' its success

By Satorupa Karmakar*  On November 01, 2021, India took a pledge of reaching a carbon-zero stage by 2070, at the COP-26 held in Glasgow, UK. As ‘ambitious’ and dubious it may sound to some, with a short-term delay in renewable energy generation (which gained the pace post-September 2020) and drastic fall in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission level as COVID-19 emerged as a ‘necessary evil’ , the path of India’s clean energy mission could be seen being paved throughout this time. Currently ranked as the third largest GHG emitter in the world, India is projected to demand more energy in coming years due to a large population base (1.3 billion as per 2011 Census data) and primarily coal-based fast-growing economy. Rapid industrialisation in post-colonial developing countries like India, stimulated by a larger and cheaper pool of fossil fuels and labour-force depicted a continuous upsurge in temperature, heavy precipitation in some places with an overall declining rainfall and a burgeoning soc

BJP-RSS trap opposition in 'futile row' around Savarkar, freedom movement

By Prem Singh*  Everything in this article is just a repetition. I have been saying all this since 1991-92. It is obvious that the Congress and the RSS/BJP do not like my ideas. But most socialists, advocates of social justice and communists also dislike my thoughts. I watch their measures and efforts to deal with the present crisis with interest. I respect them and also participate. Yet, the fact it, we fall behind again and again, and the crisis goes ahead. Instead of being a solution-providers, we are seen to be a part of the crisis. How long will this last? Perhaps, if the new generation thinks differently, things may turn for better! 1 To say that modern Indian society and politics are passing through the deepest crisis ever will surely be a repetition. The crisis is deeper than the spreading of communal hatred we witness around us. In fact, the business of communal hatred is flourishing by taking its manure and water from the deep crisis. The crisis of neo-colonial slavery is pro

Demand to withdraw 'anti-environment, anti-adivasi' forest conservation rules 2022

By Gopinath Majhi*  The Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha, a coalition of adivasis and forest dwellers’ organisations, has sent a memorandum to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) raising serious concerns over Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022, notified by the Centre on June 29.  Contending that recent amendments and a host of executive orders/guidelines issued by the ministry undermine and dilute the FRA and threaten the rights of adivasis and forest dwellers, CSD demands that the 2022 FC Rules should be rescinded forthwith. Demanding withdrawal of such anti-people and anti-environment rules CSD Odisha organised a protest Dharana in front of State Assembly today on 25th November 2022 and submitted memorandums to the Hon’ble Governor of Odisha, Chief Secretary and Commissioner-cum-Secretary, ST & SC Development Department for conveying our concerns against the FC Rules 2022 to the Central Government for its withdrawal. The memorandums w

GM mustard not swadeshi, it's a patent of MNC Bayer, GoI 'misleading' SC: Modi told

Counterview Desk  In a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as many as 42 farmers’ organisations though their representatives , backed by senior scientists and experts, have said that the Government of India (GoI) should stop misleading the Supreme Court “with untrue and incorrect” statements on GM mustard. Insisting that India does not need unsafe GM mustard, in their representation, they urged the Supreme Court to order immediate uprooting of GM mustard crop in various locations. The representation comes even as a penal of experts, coming down heavily on the GoI for refusing to see how in less than a week’s time the pollen from GM mustard will “start contaminating” non-GM mustard fields with transgenes, including male sterility and herbicide tolerant traits. Alleging that the GoI is actively misleading the Supreme Court with untrue and incorrect statements on GM mustard, Kavitha Kuruganti of the Coalition for a GM-Free India said, “We can list at least five areas where Gov

'Unprecedented rise' of attacks on students of Delhi university by ABVP condemned

Counterview Desk  A statement, sent as an email alert by "concerned teachers and students of Delhi University", referring to a protest organised against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad's (ABVP's), has alleged “brutal” attack on students and teachers demanding the release of civil rights leader Prof GN Saibaba and others from “unjust incarceration.” “We are seeing an unprecedented rise of attacks on the students of our university by the fascist ABVP goons. Almost every week we see our fellow students and activists getting attacked physically by the lackeys of this current Brahmanical Hindutva fascist regime”, the statement claimed. Text : A joint protest was organised by the students and teachers of Delhi University on 2nd of December against the brutal attack by ABVP goons. On 1st of December, activists of Bhagat Singh Chatra Ekta Manch (bsCEM), Lawyers Against Atrocities (LAA) and many other organisations as a part of Campaign Against State Repression (CASR),

Never-ending saga of sin tax: What if murder is taxed at Rs 1 crore, rape at Rs 5 crore?

By Moses Raj GS, Sangeetha Thomas*  What should have ended by June 30, 2022 as a 5 year experiment has resurfaced. The government has extended the levy of GST compensation cess by another 4 years till March 31, 2026. This cess, dubbed as the sin tax imposed on sin(ful) goods, is double the highest slab on indirect taxes. But only a few pay for it and the majority benefit, unendingly. The year 2017 is a landmark year for indirect taxes. With the grand idea of ‘One Nation, One Tax’ as a fiscal slogan subsuming all State based taxes such as octroi /entry tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), sales tax, taxes on lottery, betting and gambling, luxury tax, purchase tax, entertainment tax, property tax, professional tax and central sales tax into a single framework of Goods and Services Tax (GST) changed the contours of revenue collection. Complicating it further, India, with each State having its own size and revenue problems, has the most complex and highly centralised indirect tax structure in the w

Muslims, Dalits off Bangladesh border 'don't have acess to' water, power, farmland

Counterview Desk  Kirity Roy, secretary, civil rights group Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), in a letter to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, has revealed how, even after 75 years of Independence, Muslims and Dalits living next to the India-Bangladesh border do not have access to electricity, drinking water, even to their own land. Stating that the “horrible situation” has due to “illegal restriction on the agricultural activities” imposed by the Border Security Force (BSF), plunging “farmers and their families into deeper poverty”, the letter, referring to the plight of 1,200 people reside in the Changmari village, states, There are about 200 acres of cultivable lands out of 3,500 acres is situated beyond the border fence. “The ingress and egress of the farmers to their own agricultural land through the fencing gates are regulated by the BSF. The soil and climate of this region is very suitable for jute and maize cultivation”, it adds. Text: This letter is

Economist-editor's allegations on Narmada defamatory, baseless: Medha Patkar

Counterview Desk  In a reply directly addressed to well-known economist, journalist and columnist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar’s two articles in the Times of India (republished here and here ), calling them defamatory and wondering whether they were borne out of “ignorance or a conspiracy through political alliance”, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Pakar has said that the Narmada Sardar Saravar Project and the people's movement by adivasis, farmers, labourers, fish workers, potters and all the generations’ old communities from the river valley have suddenly come to be focused on, since the Gujarat elections are in the doorstep. She believes that while the “defamatory accusations with baseless conceptions such as ‘urban naxals’ are to be laughed at as the electoral strategic moves, one gets shocked to read the articles by a known old columnist like Swaminathan Ankalesaria Aiyar, published in a reputed daily like the Times of India." According to her, Aiyar’s two articl