The Finance Minister of Govt of India called all the Central Trade Unions for pre-budget consultation meeting which was held on 6th June 2014. All the Central Trade Unions have submitted a joint memorandum to Finance Minister detailing the burning issues facing the working people of the country and the suggestions of the trade unions to address the same in the process of budgetary exercise.
The meeting was attended by Shri Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, Ms Nirmala Sitaraman, Minister of State for Finance along with Secretaries of Finance Ministry as well as Labour Ministry. The Central Trade Unions were represented by B N Rai and Mr Upadhyay (BMS), Chandraprakash Singh and Shantakumar(INTUC), Amarjeet Kaur and D L Sachdeva(AITUC) Sharad Rao and Harbhajan Singh Sidhu(HMS), Tapan Sen and Swadesh Dev Roye (CITU), Sankar Saha (AIUTUC), Abani Roy (UTUC), S P Tewari (TUCC), Mr Shammugham (LPF), Santosh Roy (AICCTU) among others.
Tapan Sen, General Secretary, CITU, while presenting the trade unions’ views before the Finance Minister pointed out that the joint memorandum by all the central trade unions in the country reflects the serious concerns of the working people of the country in its entirety who create GDP for the country, resources for the country’s exchequer and also profit for the employer. Both in its contents and essence, trade unions’ joint memorandum urges upon the Govt for bringing about a directional change away from the path of deregulation, privatization, promoting price-rise of essential commodities for facilitating speculation, patronization of systematic deliberate default in tax-payment by the big-business and corporate houses, state-sponsored and patronized violations of all basic labour laws on Minimum Wages, Social Security, trade union rights, safety in workplaces, mass-scale contractorisation etc and reckless opening of strategic and sensitive sectors of the national economies including public utilities for exploitation by foreign companies and speculators etc. The same set of policies have been followed by the previous Congress led Govt-all in the name of promoting employment generating investment from private sector, both domestic and foreign to facilitate growth and employment creation, which finally landed the country in deeper economic crisis, aggravation of unemployment and job-losses, fuelling price-rise and widespread impoverishment and dwindling growth rates. The urgent need of the hour is a directional change in policy regime in the form of a complete ban on speculation in commodity market and universalisation of PDS, augmenting public investment in agriculture, infrastructure and public utilities, strengthening and empowering of public sectors units in strategic and sensitive sectors of economy including financial sector, energy, defence, and natural resources and complete stoppage of all disinvestment and privatization moves and concrete steps and budgetary support for revival of sick but potentially viable PSUs, Tapan Sen asserted. It was also pointed out that all the central trade unions have been jointly struggling pressing for their ten-point demands and on many of them there has already been a consensus at tripartite forums including in the successive Indian Labour Conferences till 2013. Issues of consensus are formulation of Minimum Wage (which should be at present price level should not be less than Rs 15000/-), universalisation of social security including pension, regularization of all scheme workers in anganwadi, mid-day-meal, ASHA, sarv-shiksha abhiyan, child-labour projects and similar other centrally funded schemes, same wage and benefits for the contract workers in line with regular workers etc. Sen demanded that the central budget must make provisions for at least for meeting the demands, on which there have been general consensus at the highest tripartite level (comprising all governments, trade unions and employers’ organizations) like Indian Labour Conference for the sake of propriety and fairness.
The Finance Minister, thanked the trade union representatives for their suggestions and submissions.