People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 34

August 22, 2010

Medical Representatives Stage Two-Day Strike


TWO lakh medical representatives all over the country resorted to a two-day strike on August 17-18, at the call of the Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives Associations of India (FMRAI). This was to protest the central government’s attitude of continuously ignoring the FMRAI’s demands and against the employers’ increasing attacks on the sales promotion employees. Members of the FMRAI observed the strike in about 350 cities and towns of the country.


In a recent meeting with the labour minister Mallaikarjun Kharge, FMRAI leaders had told him that the government had not made the labour laws applicable to this section of workers for the last three decades. The deputation also asked the government to direct the states to punish the employers who are violating the provisions of Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions of Service) Act. Another FMRAI demand is that the government must constitute a tripartite industrial committee for the sales promotion employees.


Taking advantage of inaction from the government in the states and at the centre, the pharmaceutical industry bosses have been depriving this section of employees of several benefits and have victimised many of them in the name of sales performance, while sales is the joint responsibility of the employers and employees. The employers are unduly increasing the workload and imposing severe, unbearable working conditions. After acquisition of Indian companies, multinationals have refused to negotiate with the recognised unions of the sales promotion employees.


Leaders of the FMRAI have also met the minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers, Srikant Jena, demanding reduction of medicine prices and revival of public sector medicine and vaccine plants. They also demanded effective intervention against the unethical business and marketing practices of the pharmaceutical industry.


At the same time, the Delhi State Medical Representatives Organisation (DSMRO) has demanded that the government of National Capital Territory, Delhi, must declare minimum wages, implement the SPE Act, amend the Industrial Disputes Act on the West Bengal pattern and notify eight hours work for this section of workers. Members of DSMRO too observed  the two-day strike on the FMRAI and DSMRO demands.