Dictatorial attitude of UPA government exposed again
BMS to boycott ILO conference
By Pramod Kumar
The autocratic attitude of the UPA government towards its opponents has this time insulted crores of labourers in the country. In an unprecedented and dictatorial decision, the Union Labour Minister, K. Chandershekhar Rao, while violating all norms and existing practices and even flouting the International Labour Organisation's(ILO) guidelines, has nominated the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) as the delegate to the 93rd ILO Annual Conference, pushing aside the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the duly certified largest central trade union of the country. It is for the first time that any pro-government and second-grade labour union, which has been rejected by labourers also, will represent Indian labourers in the ILO conference.
Agitated over the behaviour of the UPA government, the BMS has decided to take the issue to the streets and an agitation has already begun in different parts of the country. ?The gift given to the INTUC by the Union Labour Minister will prove costly. The anguish of the workers is rising and the Union Labour Ministry shall solely be responsible for labour unrest and disturbances,? warned Shri Girish Awasthi, BMS president, while talking to Organiser in New Delhi.
The ILO conference is scheduled to be held in Geneva from May 31 to June 16. The composition of the delegation is tripartite and it is headed by the Union Labour Minister. As per the ratified conventions of ILO, the government of a member country is required to nominate delegate from the largest labour organisation. But the UPA government has ignored all such norms laid down by the international labour forum.
As per the membership verification, conducted by the Central Government after every four years, the BMS is the largest central labour organisation since 1996 and by virtue of its strength and number one position, its representative is nominated as delegate for the ILO conference on behalf of the Indian workforce. Representatives of other labour organisations are nominated as advisors to the delegate. Accordingly till 1996, INTUC was the largest trade union in the country and therefore, it undisputedly represented the Indian workers. Afterwards, the BMS represented as delegate as it was the largest trade union, till the previous year. The BMS still holds the status of the largest labour organisation but the Union Labour Minister, for the first time in the history of labour movement in India, has taken such an autocratic decision to nominate the INTUC representative as delegate, thus displaying blatant favouritism.
Talking to Organiser, Shri Girish Awasthi said, ?Under such a situation, the BMS has no other option but to boycott the ILO conference as all our efforts to meet and persuade the Labour Minister have failed.? He pointed out that as in previous years, this year also the BMS was nominated as delegate (vide Labour Ministry letter No. W-16013/1/2005-L.C, dated April 5, 2005) and the BMS had also officially recommended its representative'sname as delegate. But surprisingly the nomination had been changed arbitrarily (vide Labour Ministry letter No.W-16012/1/2005-L.C., dated April 27, 2005). In this letter the government declared the name of Sanjiva Reddy as delegate and the BMS representative, Shri Hashubahi Dave'sname as advisor.
Agitated over the arbitrary decision, the BMS wrote to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on May 2, requesting him to intervene in the matter and direct the Ministry to restore the status quo. But the Prime Minister turned a blind eye to the request. Again, the BMS president, Shri Girish Awasthi, met the Union Labour Minister on May 6 in his chamber in New Delhi and handed over a letter requesting him to ?ensure that the composition of the workers? delegation is in strict conformity with the norms of the ILO Constitution and standing order of the ILC and that no unhealthy precedence is created.? But the minister did not respond. The BMS again wrote to the Labour Minister on May 20 informing him that ?the seat of advisor in the subject delegation is not acceptable to BMS and we (BMS) shall be compelled to boycott the subject conference.? President of India Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was also requested to intervene in the matter, through a letter, but he too failed to respond.