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?
- 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.
- 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-
- 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.
- 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.