Central Trade Unions strike

Context- Trade unions called for nationwide strike to protest government policies.

Why Central Trade Union (CTUs) have called for a nation-wide strike and what are the demands

Central Trade unions called for national wide strike to protest against anti-farmer laws, anti-worker labour codes, privatization of public sector and the corporatization policies of the government.

Trade union’s demands-

  • The demands of the joint platform include cash transfer of Rs 7,500 per month for all non-income tax paying families and 10 kilograms free ration per person per month to all needy people.
  • Expansion of MGNREGA, the rural employment guarantee scheme, to provide 200 days’ work in a year in rural areas at enhanced wages and also extension of the employment guarantee to urban areas.
  • Withdrawal of the “draconian circular on forced premature retirement of government and PSU employees”.
  • Pension to all– scrapping NPS (National Pension System) and restoration of earlier pension with improvement in Employees’ Pension Scheme 1995 [EPS-95].

What are the key concerns with new labour codes?

  1. Against the Interests of Employees- The codes provide the liberty to industrial establishments to hire and fire their employees at will.
  • The new labour codes dilute workers’ rights in favour of employers’ rights.
  1. Inspection system has been diluted in the Wage Code.

What are the other options that trade union have to dilute this resolution?

Trade unions have six options-

However,

  • Central government did not conduct an effective and sustaining social dialogue and at the State level, social dialogue institutions are largely absent or weak.
  • The new Labour codes ignore the recommendations of Parliamentary Standing committee.
  • And the labour reforms bills passed in the absence of the Opposition.
  • International Labour Organization’s intervention– Trade union did wrote to ILO, seeking its intervention to protect worker’s rights but the ILO’s intervention only provide provided a temporary respite to trade unions as the government did what it has been doing.

Way forward-

  • Approaching the judiciary- Trade unions must shed their judicio-phobia and approach to judiciary provided they have strong legal grounds to challenge reforms introduced by Central or State governments.
  • Strike alone will not make much difference– Trade unions must explore other avenues such as seeking the ILO’s intervention, judicial action and social dialogue
  • This strike is a reminder of this potential, positive reconstruction of laws.
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