People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 29, 2004
Strike Unwarranted: AIRTWF
Workers Seek Representation In Talks
THE All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation (AIRTWF) has termed the ongoing nationwide indefinite strike called by the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) from August 21, 2004 against imposition of 10 per cent service tax on transporters as “unwarranted”.
In a statement issued on August 22, the Federation general secretary K K Divakaran stated that the strike was against the interests of the general public as the disruption in the movement of essential commodities will result in suffering for the common people, both in terms of rising prices and non-availability. “The truck owners are not paying statutory wages or other benefits to the nearly one crore workers in this sector. And the government has clarified that the service tax of 10 per cent would be levied from the booking agents only and not from truck owners.”
Therefore the strike is totally unwarranted, felt the AIRTWF. Referring to the government proposal for setting up of a committee comprising representatives of transport industry, including those from the AIMTC, and the finance ministry for resolving the problem, the Federation demanded that trade union federations of transport workers must also be included in the proposed committee and invited for the talks in this matter so that the issues of the workers can also be addressed.
living conditions of the nearly one crore workers engaged in the transport
sector, including auto rickshaws and taxis, are miserable and further
deteriorating by the day due to the anti-labour policies of the central and
state governments. In this situation, the AIRTWF had decided to launch an
aggressive campaign and agitation to realise some of the demands of the workers.
Accordingly, on August 18 a nationwide “Demands Day” was observed. The main
a national transport policy
price rise of petrol and diesel
social security schemes for transport workers with the assistance of central
and state governments
the M V Act and Motor Transport Workers Act
appointment letters to all workers
of workers to be done through labour department
harassment by officials of police department and motor transport department.
level demands were also added to the above all-India demands. The next day,
memorandums containing these demands were submitted to various government
authorities through out the country.
As per the AIRTWF appeal, motor transport workers also conducted rallies, gate meetings and public meetings in an effort to make the programme a huge success. (INN)