THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Trade unions cutting across political affiliations will join hands to protest against alleged anti-labour laws being thrust upon workers by the Central Government and various state governments.
An emergency meeting of central trade unions held in New Delhi the other day decided to build up a united struggle and hold a national convention in the beginning of next month in the national capital to concertise it.
“Federations and unions across the sectors will participate in the convention. The meet also called upon industrial federations under the central trade unions to develop joint movements on their sectoral issues and against the policies of the government,” INTUC national vice- president R Chandrasekharan said.
Denouncing the ‘retrograde’ move of the Government in hiking/allowing FDI in the defence sector, insurance and Railways and also its aggressive move for disinvestment in Central PSUs, the meet expressed deep concern at the reported unilateral move to amend the labour laws by a number of state governments and by the Central Government.
Most of the amendments sought to be done will have serious negative impact on the working conditions including trade union rights of workers and employees, it was assessed.
“In spite of the assurance given by the Labour Minister that central trade unions will be consulted, these amendments in labour laws are being pushed through without any consultations with them. The Rajasthan Assembly has passed three amendments, which are retrograde and detrimental to the rights and livelihood of the working people.
“The whole process is aimed to weaken the tripartite consultation mechanism,” the meet felt, and feared that the amendments would lead to rampant casualisation of employment.
Certain amendments approved by the Union Cabinet in Factories Act, Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers for certain Establishments) and Apprentice Act will also adversely affect the service conditions of the workers throwing overwhelming majority of them out of the coverage of all basic labour laws, it was pointed out.
The Central Government is also considering amendments in Minimum Wages Act and Industrial Disputes Act, the meet noted.
The meet expressed dismay over the total inaction in implementing the consensus recommendations of the 43rd, 44th and 45th Indian Labour Conferences on formulation of minimum wages, same wage and benefits as regular workers for the contract workers and granting status of workers with attendant benefits to those employed in various Central government schemes.
INTUC president G Sanjeeva Reddy chaired the meet. Vrijesh Upadhyay (BMS), Gurudas Das Gupta (AITUC), A K Padmanabhan and Tapen Sen MP (CITU), Harbhajan Singh Siddhu (HMS) and other central trade union representatives attended.