The Central Trade Unions (CTUs) in their meeting on 3rd June 2020 congratulated the workers for responding enthusiastically to the nation-wide protest call demanding immediate halt to changes in labour laws, abrogating the rights won over after a struggle of 150 years among other demands. The meeting took serious note of the continuous aggressive attack on the workers’ rights ignoring all the joint representations to the Government on the matter including the nationwide protest on 22nd May 2020.
The Government not only failed in getting its own orders and advisories implemented in regard to payment of wages to workers, no retrenchments to be carried during lockdown period. Instead, it withdrew its own decision in the face of the case in Supreme Court by the employers of some companies. The Government did not heed to the demand of cash transfer of Rs. 7500/- to all non income tax paying households including unorganised labour (registered or unregistered) for the months of April, May, June, neither the demand for Government support to pay the wages of workers of MSMEs for these three months. The ration to all working people for at least six months to be made available universally also did not find favour with the Government. Neither our demand for workers safe journey home paid attention to.
The Supreme Court had to take cognizance finally asking the Governments of Centre and States not to demand passenger fares from workers, give them proper shelter and food till they are transported to their homes. Nineteen High Courts had taken cognizance of workers, frontline fighters and hospital services etc during this period.
We re-iterate that the Central Government chose the cover of COVID-19 lockdown to push through its agenda of disinvestment and wholesale privatisation of Public Sector Enterprises, 100 percent FDI in core sectors – Indian railways, Defence, Port and Dock, Coal, Air India, Banks, Insurance etc., steps in favour Corporates of Indian & Foreign brands to usurp natural resources and business of the country while mouthing behind the slogan of Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat. The earlier decisions and those taken during COVID-19 lockdown on privatization/corporatization/commercialization in Defense, Coal, Space science, Atomic energy, Insurance, Banks and most of the PSUs are being pursued with vigour and arrogance. The decision of DA freeze of 48 lakh Central Government Employees and DR freeze of 68 lakh pensioners, which is also having impact on the state government employees, is not withdrawn despite vehement opposition from Government employees and CTUs.
In this back ground various sections are now in agitation mode. The electricity workers and engineers have jointly observed countrywide protest against Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 on 1st June 2020. While welcoming the sectoral struggles which are developing in various sectors, CTUs support the protest programmes taken up by Defence federations including “strike ballots” and those in the coal mine sector on 10-11 June 2020.
The scheme workers, ASHA, Anganwadi, MDM, 108 ambulance employees, etc and the nurses and doctors who are in the front ranks among the front line warriors working at the community level for combating Covid 19 Pandemic are agitated for their demands for safety measures not being addressed appropriately and neither they are provided proper health care on falling sick from COVID-19 infection, nor the social security and insurance coverage being extended to the families who are succumbing to the disease. The scheme workers are also being denied payment of honorarium for lockdown period.
ASHAs, anganwadi employees, Doctors, Nurses, Safai Karamcharis, have been in the protests now and then in various parts of the country on similar demands. The CTUs support all these agitations on their just demands.
The so-called 20 lakh crore package of the Government is nothing but a hoax and cruel joke on the suffering people; this mainly comprises of loan guarantee to various sectors and the actual relief package reaching people is not even 1 percent of GDP. Even, previously announced budgetary allocations and welfare schemes such as PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, Construction Workers Welfare Board and District Mineral Funds etc have been unscrupulously repackaged to befool the people.