Srinagar: While maintaining social distancing norms, the CITU observed May 22 as ‘Demands Day’ in Jammu and Kashmir on call given by central trade unions and asserted that it will fight back attempts of suppressing the rights of working class by the Union government and JP led state governments.
The CITU and its affiliated unions across the J&K held protests. The CITU leaders said that taking shelter under the umbrella of COVID-19 pandemic, every day the government is taking one or other decisions to attack the working class and common people of the country who are already in deep distress and miseries in the midst of lockdown in the country.
As the mass of the working people have been subjected to inhuman sufferings owing to loss of jobs, loss of wages, eviction from residences etc. reducing them to hungry non-entities in the process of almost two months lockdown, the government of the day at the Centre and BPJ led several state other states are aggressively moving to push the working people into virtual slavery.
Labour laws have been suspended by the BJP governments of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. “This is yet another shocking but unsurprising blow to workers and labourers by BJP governments.
This retrograde anti-worker move came in the second stage after 8 state governments (Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Odisha, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar and Punjab) have enhanced the daily working hours from eight hours to 12 hours through executive order in violation of the Factories Act, taking advantage of the lockdown situation.
These draconian measures are not only to facilitate more brutal and cruel exploitation of workers without their rights for collective bargaining, dispute over proper wages, safety at work place and guarantee of social security etc, but also to throw them in to conditions of slavery, in the interests of more profiteering despite continuing economic slowdown. Women and vulnerable sections will be more exploited in terms of forced labour.
The CITU leaders while resenting the anti-poor and anti-labour policies of the Modi government warned that it will fight against these injustices unitdely. They also urged the government to provide food, financial aid and safe passage of all migrant workers amid COVID-19 pandemic. They also asked the government to provide minimum wages of Rs 21000 per month to all workers, regularize all Scheme workers including Anganwadi workers and helpers and not to increase working hours from 8 to 12 hours.
With lakhs of people in the unorganised sector staring at loss of livelihood, the party also wanted the government to increase the working days under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee scheme (MNREGA) from the existing 100 days to 200 days and ensure all who want to avail it is given work.
Another demand raised by the CITU is to provide free ration through Public Distribution System (PDS), to people, including migrant labourers, by utilising the huge existing stock of 7.5 crore tonne in the godowns of the Food Corporation of India.
Besides, the demands include, no land acquisition, corporatization of agriculture, safety gears for all frontline workers, PPEs for those who are engaged in containment areas and red zone, Rs 50 lakh insurance cover to all frontline workers covering all deaths on duty and Rs 7500 for all non-income tax paying families.
It also wanted an announcement on increased expenditure to strengthen public health system with adequate free testing, hospital facilities, isolation wards and ventilators.