On the invitation of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, a meeting with central trade unions viz. BMS, INTUC, AITUC, CITU and HMS was held in New Delhi on August 19. The BMS and other trade unions opposed the proposed labour reforms in garment sector of textile industry. Shri Baij Nath Rai, national secretary of BMS, pointed out that the Law of Factory Act 1948 was enacted after the long struggle of workers throughout the world. The ILO passed a unanimous convention about duty hours and other service conditions, which was rectified by our government. ?How could then India violate it by forcing changes in the name of labour reforms. Moreover, the export market has increased due to skill power of labour, huge production and productivity. The workers should have been awarded for such expansion of business. But it is painful that they are being victimised,? he added.
Drawing the attention of Prime Minister to the issue of dual practice in payment of bonus, Shri Rai said while the employees of government and some other sectors are enjoying the benefit of bonus, a large number of workers of private and other sectors are being denied it on the plea of ceilings in payment of Bonus Act. When the bonus has been defined as deferred wage by the Supreme Court, there is no reason why any worker should be deprived of it. He asserted that Bonus should be provided to all the workers.
He strongly opposed the rampant trend of contract lobour in the government, PSUs and private sectors and even in the print and visual media. ?It is nothing but a conspiracy to reduce wages and curtail service conditions.
Shri Rai strongly protested the appointment of a committee by the central government for revision of salaries and 10 years agreement for the employees of PSUs. The similar committee under the chairmanship of Justice Mohan was appointed in 1997, whose recommendations raised many controversies. It is suggested that no committee should be appointed without consulting with the trade unions, Shri Rai said. He also apprised the meeting of the BMS views on the second pension option and employment to the heirs of bank employees on compassion ground. He said the bilateral talks are not at all progressing towards a satisfactory conclusion in the banking industry. He demanded a comprehensive law for the protection of the interest of agriculture labour.
Shri Rai also demanded review of various judicial verdicts related to the right of labour. He registered his protest against the continuous curtailment in the rate of interest of provident fund and pressure for investment of the funds in share market and similar curtailments in other social securities.