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Friday, May 24, 2024

More stir by working class ahead

The AITUC council report mentions even the Central government’s shameless withdrawal of its orders for providing wages for the lockdown period, no eviction from rented accommodations, and no retrenchment from jobs, after failing miserably in implementing the orders and some employers knocking the doors of the Supreme Court against the orders.

Dr Gyan Pathak

India seems to be heading toward a more turbulent industrial relations in the country in 2022 with the working class planning for more extensive and intensive agitations against Modi government’s economic and industrial policy in general and labour policies in particular on the one hand and the Centre moving toward implementing the four controversial labour codes on the other. Greater solidarity among the trade unions is now visible with their continued effort in this regard who are even planning for a  two-day general strike on March 28 and 29.

What has been influencing the mind of the working class was even visible in the general council of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) met at Hyderabad from February 5 to 7, 2022, and one can even see in its document that narrates the general sentiment prevailing among the workforce, which presents a disturbing picture of the country, which tends to be becoming even worse.

The nation has been witnessing central trade unions’ resistance to Modi’s policies that the workforce believes to be anti-worker. The coal sector unions had gone on three days’ strike against commercial mining, defence sector federations organised consistent campaign including strike, bank unions went on strike for three days and then for two days, insurance sector unions also organised strike, so did the electricity federations, scheme workers went for agitations including strike, steel sector also went on agitation to save Vishakhapatnam steel plant from privatisation having turned into people’s movement.

On the other side the construction unions, beedi workers, workers/ employees in hospitals, in municipalities and in panchayati-raj institutions, domestic workers, hawkers and vendors, private transport workers, MGNREGA and other agricultural workers have been in agitation for redressal of their grievances in various states despite all the difficulty and restrictions due to Covid crises.

Historic Kisan agitation continued for one year. The promises on which the agitation was ended are yet to be fulfilled and the farmer unions are alleging that the provisions of the withdrawn acts are being implemented indirectly. Farmers are readying themselves for another long battle.

AITUC council has planned to make the agitation of the working class stronger than ever before and thorough campaign to expose the Modi government policies against the working class.

The portrayal of the prevailing sentiment among working class found in the recapitulation report of the AITUC council shows how restive the workers have become. The report has said that the Modi government pushed the working class into extreme uncertainties of life and inflicted pain to the common people. It remembered how millions of workers, men, women, children and elderly people walked for hundreds of miles to reach back their homes having lost jobs, livelihood, no roof on the heads and no food for survival. More than 850 people died, in accidents on railway tracks, on roads, in buses, in trains, and also due to disease, dehydration and hunger during that period.

AITUC council report mentions even the Central government’s shameless withdrawal of its orders for providing wages for the lockdown period, no eviction from rented accommodations, and no retrenchment from jobs, after failing miserably in implementing the orders and some employers knocking the doors of the Supreme Court against the orders.

The demands of trade unions for giving universal coverage of ration without any document, cash transfer of Rs 7,500 to non-tax paying families were met with deaf ears. Not only that the government brought in anti-farmer and anti-worker policies apart from disinvestment of public sector and their privatisation.

The Council’s report said that the Covid-19 relief packages announced allowed even the monopoly business houses/ corporates to continue with profit-making, while the common people, vendors, small business and enterprises were at the receiving end. This was allowed to happen through further concessions by lowering corporate taxes and on procedures, no wealth tax on them, whereas reducing interest benefits on the savings of senior citizens, widows and pensioners who live on that money, increased indirect taxes and various cess on the already suffering poor, vulnerable masses, lower and middle classes.

The report also exposed the way the packages were made attractive and bigger by including even the budget allocations already made for farmers, the workers money in construction welfare boards disbursement and that of the mineral workers welfare money, and many more as such. The packages were in reality camouflaging exercises by the government to hoodwink people and to benefit its corporate friends.

But the government of the day appears to be least concerned about the plight of workers, farmers and other vulnerable sections of the society, AITUC council said.
It believed that Modi government is selling out the national public assets under the National Monetization Plan (NMP) which is an attack on all sectors of the economy in the first place and on interest of the working class ultimately. (IPA Service)

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