People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 30, 2004
Convey Concerns Of Working Class
New Labour Minister
delegation of top leaders of the central trade unions met the new union labour
minister Sis Ram Ola on May 26 and submitted the
following memorandum. The signatories to the memorandum are: Swapan
Muherjee (AICCTU), Gurudas Dasgupta (AITUC), Chittabrata Majumdar (CITU),
Umraomal Purohit (HMS), Devarajan
(TUCC), Aboni Roy (UTUC) Krishna
central trade unions representing an overwhelming majority of the workers of the
country viz AICCTU, AITUC, CITU, HMS, TUCC, UTUC and UTUC-LS, greet the union
labour minister. We look forward to your proactive intervention in addressing
the concerns of the working class of the country.
working people of India share the joy of the millions of our countrymen at the
ouster of the previous National Democratic Alliance government, whose track
record in office had been disastrous for all sections of the Indian society
except the vastly affluent few.
United Progressive Alliance government has assumed office at the centre in the
backdrop of the utter
failure of the BJP-led NDA government to tackle the basic human problems of the
country during its nearly six years rule; its total inability to contain
recession, push up rate of investment, promote employment, ensure poverty
alleviation, step up higher growth and economic development benefiting the
common people; its inability even to provide food security to the hungry
millions. It had instead given the multinational companies substantial access to
domestic savings, bringing about massive casualisation of work force and
weakened the ability of the state to effectively intervene in the economy in
favour of the vast majority of people who are close to destitution.
the new government must set out to act without any delay and carry out the tasks
of giving immediate relief to the distressed working masses of the country. We
also look forward to the new government embarking on an exercise to bring about
a paradigm shift in the economic policies.
emphasise that it is essential to embark on a programme of:
government investment, directed and targeted to augment agricultural
and expanding social infrastructure particularly in health, education,
supply of drinking water
improving irrigation facilities, developing small and medium industries,
building rural roads
up new power stations, extending communications
above all reducing poverty and generating massive employment.
expect that the new government will devote itself to the urgent task of
cleansing the governance which was based on politics of hatred and violence,
divisiveness, sectarian intolerance, minority bashing, intoxication and
saffronisation of every institution under the polity and usher in a new period
of freedom, incisiveness and openness, refurbishing the secular democratic
fabric of the Indian society.
also expect that the new government will repeal the draconian POTA and ESMA,
which are unwanted incursions into the democratic rights of the people in a
republic like ours.
the past few years, all the central trade unions and independent unions and
federations in the country, had jointly formulated the following eight-point
to privatisation of profit making and potentially viable public sector
change in the labour laws in favour of the employers and against the
interest of the workers
enactment of a comprehensive legislation for agricultural workers
to policies leading to severe aggravation of joblessness and unemployment
comprehensive social security schemes for all, including workers in
of quantitative restrictions on imports
of Payment of Bonus Act by removing all ceilings
of 12 per cent interest rate on Provident Fund deposits.
the above, the entire spectrum of the trade union movement in the country
denounced the Supreme Court pronouncement against the right to strike and
demanded that the central government take appropriate steps to negate the
pernicious impact of the said judgement of the Supreme Court.
the government to implement the above, the trade unions and the working people
of all sectors have unitedly been on the move, launching campaigns and sustained
struggles throughout the country and in different sectors. Thus, the working
people of the country have made a solid contribution in shaping the people’s
verdict, which saw the exit of the NDA government.
therefore, have an inalienable right to demand this government to respond to the
concerns of the working people. We list hereunder the specific issues and
demands, In line with the above common position taken by the entire trade union
movement in the country, on which the new government is expected to initiate
and foremost, clear the impasse created by the Supreme Court verdict on the
right to strike by taking effective steps to negate the pernicious impact
steps to ratify the core conventions of the International Labour
Organisation on the right to association and right to collective bargaining
(ILO Conventions 87 and 98), as also the ILO Conventions 151 and 154, which
specifically relate to the rights of those employed in public services.
the May Day as an additional national holiday.
privatisation/disinvestment of profit making, strategically important and
potentially viable PSUs and departmental undertakings.
quantitative restrictions on imports and review EXIM policy to safeguard
agriculture, indigenous industry and national interest as a whole.
out expeditious land reform programmes, which will lead to swift economic
growth and create vast employment potential.
measures like ban on recruitment in government offices, railways and public
sector enterprises and systematic downsizing of workforce; undertake a crash
programme for creating jobs to reduce the colossal volume of unemployment.
the public distribution system with adequate quantity and regularity of
supply with effective monitoring system to ensure that the gains reach the
deprived and needy section; reduce the price of kerosene, augment its supply
through public distribution system; price of diesel, petrol, and cooking gas
not to be raised any further.
the Electricity Act, 2003 and rescind the deadline of June 10, 2004 for
unbundling of SEBs; withdraw the bills pending in Parliament for the
privatisation of banks, coal mining etc.
immediate measures to tackle the crisis in the traditional industries like
tea, jute, coir, textile, handloom, khadi & village industries, beedi,
immediate steps to enact the Workers Participation in Management Bill, which
has been kept lingering for over a decade.
the repeal of the Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Act;
restore the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) and its
Appellate Authority (AAIFR); strengthen the mechanism of BIFR/AAIFR, revamp
them with appropriate arrangements for finances for ensuring
rehabilitation/revival of the sick companies; create an appropriate
mechanism for rehabilitation of sick small scale industries, which are
outside the purview of SICA.
a new review committee with representation to the central trade unions (CTUOs)
to devise a truly transparent mechanism of compiling the cost of living
indices, with the CTUOs being given a monitoring role.
the growing problems of fishermen; cancel the licences given to foreign deep
sea fishing trawlers; stop the increasing use of mechanical vessels for
fishing in the coastal regions.
functioning of the labour ministry; ensure effective functioning of labour
ministry in all matters concerning the interests of labour; activate the
tripartite mechanism including Tripartite Committees, the Indian Labour
Conference and Standing Labour Committee.
the whimsical and partisan manner of deciding representation of central
trade unions in tripartite committees; evolve norms therefore in
consultation with the CTUOs.
the comprehensive Agricultural Workers Bill to guarantee minimum wage and to
extend social protection to the vast multitude of agricultural labourers.
the Unorganised Sector Workers Bill, as unanimously recommended by the
central trade unions.
forthwith the notification introducing a new classification of “fixed term
employment workman” under the Model Standing Order Rules, which will wipe
out permanency in all jobs even in the organised sector.
the whole gamut of legislative changes, carried out as well as contemplated,
in detriment to the interests of labour; annul the exemption given to Export
Promotion Zones / Special Economic Zones from application of labour laws and
social security schemes.
an in-depth discussion with the central trade unions for making the labour
legislations more meaningful and effective and for strengthening the
the present provisions in the Bonus Act to remove the income ceilings for
eligibility and calculation of Bonus.
all labour legislations, in consultation with the CTUOs, providing for a
uniform definition of ‘workman’ and ‘industry’ make them applicable
to all workmen doing away with income parameters/ceilings of any kind.
by bringing in appropriate legislation in the Parliament, the adverse impact
of the Supreme Court judgements, which have (a) reversed its earlier
beneficial ruling in favour of contract workers and (b) ruled that teachers
employed in private schools and educational institutions could not be
construed as ‘workman’ and thus declared them to be ineligible for
gratuity and other statutory benefits even.
expeditious steps to enact legislation for preventing sexual harassment of
women at work place as per the Supreme Court guidelines.
the interests of Inter-State Migrant workers and amend the Inter-State
Migrant Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act
1979 for extending its coverage.
a national social security policy to provide for a comprehensive scheme,
covering all sections of workers and extending relief to those who are
involuntarily unemployed, for early implementation.
the 12 per cent interest on the Employees Provident Fund, small savings,
general provident fund, public provident fund etc.
the present social security schemes under the Employees Provident Fund
Organisation and the Employees State Insurance Corporation, in consultation
with the central trade unions for a thorough overhaul, to ensure their
better functioning and universal coverage.
the retrograde measure replacing the existing ‘benefit defined’ pension
scheme by a new ‘contribution defined’ pension scheme for new recruits
in the government service.
fine, we wish to reiterate that the defeat of the BJP-led NDA government
signifies the powerful mood of the masses for rapid change for better. We,
therefore, call upon the new government not only to undo the wrongs perpetrated
by the earlier regime but also rise to the occasion and live up to the
expectation of the masses. We urge the new government to adopt a firm pro-people
economic policy that shall end the economic recession and guarantee a better
quality of life for the common masses without allowing the vastly affluent
section of the community to be the sole beneficiary of the development paradigm.
government with commitment to the people, we believe, can mobilise additional
resources to finance the programme of development benefiting the people. We
emphasise on blasting corruption, paving the way for economic growth, ensuring
better tax compliance, curbing tax default, realising the outstanding bank loans
and tax arrears, augmenting direct tax revenues by broadening the tax base and
incidence on the vastly affluent and rich landlord sections, giving relief to
salaried employees by increasing income tax exemption limits, mobilising
domestic resources by launching long term development bonds.
the issues and demands of the working people enumerated above, we look forward
to your initiating meaningful steps and expeditious actions. We are always
available for further interactions and dialogue, at your earliest convenience.