People's Democracy

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


No. 27

July 08, 2012




Workers Stage Dharna at Labour Commissioner Office


AT the call of the Punjab state committee of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), about five thousand industrial workers, brick-kiln workers, MNREGA, Anganwadi, ASHA, mid-day meal, transport and construction workers staged a protest dharna in front of the office of labour commissioner, Punjab, on June 25. This dharna at Chandigarh, despite scorching sun as well as police threats and hurdles, sought to press some long pending demands of the workers, which they feel are just and genuine. These include the following.


1) An enhancement of the  minimum wage of unskilled workers to Rs 10,000 per month, of semi-skilled workers to Rs 15,000 per month and of skilled workers to Rs 20,000. Fixation of the daily wage of unskilled workers at Rs 350 per day.


2) Abolition of illegal contract labour system from all the departments and industrial units of the centre and the state governments as well as private industrial establishments. Regularisation of the services of the workers who have been employed on contract basis against regular posts.


3) Ensured equal wage for equal work. Coverage of all scheme workers like Anganwadi workers and helpers, ASHA and mid-day meal workers under the Minimum Wages Act 1948.


4) Implementation of the Punjab government notification dated February 21, 2012, giving the direction that the minimum wage must be treated as the basic wage of workers.


Addressing the dharna, CITU state president Vijay Mishra, its general secretary Raghunath Singh, vice president Chander Shekhar and other speakers strongly condemned the anti-people and anti-working class neo-liberal economic policies of both the central and state governments, the sky rocketing prices of essential commodities and services, corruption and unemployment.  Criticising the Akali-BJP government of Punjab, the speakers told that despite the record beating rises in the prices of essential commodities and of essential services like electricity, health, water, education and transport, the minimum wages of industrial workers and of those working under various schemes were not revised and enhanced. It has become very difficult for the workers to make both ends meet by earning Rs 4,268 per month and Rs 170 per day. They demanded that equal wages for equal work must be ensured for all contract workers as well as female workers. The speakers also demanded strict implementation of the existing labour laws and protection of the basic trade union rights.


The speakers warned the government that in case these just and genuine demands of over 1,50,000 workers of Punjab are not conceded, the CITU would further intensify and widen the agitation all over the state of Punjab and would organise protest rallies and demonstrations at all the industrial and at district headquarters from July 2 to 8, 2012.