Massive rally by BMS against price rise and corruption?
Stop contract system of employment?
Demanding protection of workers’ rights in the light of financial crisis as well as the economic reforms being implemented in the country, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) organised a massive rally at Parliament Streets in New Delhi on November 23. Thousands of workers from different parts of the country participated in the rally.
Prior to the rally, six processions began from different locations including Rajghat, Ramlila Grounds, Ambedkar Bhawan, etc and marched towards the Parliament Streets. Shouting the slogans like, ‘Protect the Workers, Protect the Nation’, the workers demanded to abolish anti-workers policies, arrest price rise, end corruption, bring back black money stashed away abroad and stop contract system of employment.
Presiding over the rally BMS president Shri CK Saji Narayanan presented a charter of demands on behalf of the workers and demanded that the minimum pension should be raised to Rs 3000. He said the Government should implement national minimum wages and that the vast income disparity has to be brought down. “There are lakhs of women working with paltry wages and service conditions as Anganwadi, Asha, Mid-day Meal workers involved in development of rural India. They should be declared as Central Government employees. Government should lift the ban on recruitment as lakhs of Government posts are lying vacant. Workers employed in SEZ, NMIZ, IT sector, Service Sector and Private Sectors like Maruti Industries should not be denied basic trade union rights. Those working under MGNREGA should be given work for 200 days in a year,” he said.
BMS national general secretary Shri Baij Nath Rai strongly opposed the Government decision to allow FDI in pension sector and also privatising it. He said the Government has not learnt lessons from what happened in the US and Europe due to such faulty reforms. He said the Government’s approach towards the PSUs and big corporates is highly discriminatory and looks fishy. “The Government was hesitant to support Air India when it made losses; but Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was very quick in declaring Government assistance to Kingfisher Airlines,” he said.
He demanded the Government to stop exploitation of contract workers and regularise them without any delay. He said the contract workers should be paid wages and allowances at par with the permanent employees. He said the Social Security Boards should be constituted immediately under the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008.
For Government sector, the BMS demanded 50 per cent merger of DA to accommodate increase in prices. It also demanded that violation of labour laws should be curbed, disinvestment of PSUs and privatisation should be stopped, FDI in retail trade should not be allowed, welfare board for private transport employees and statutory wage boards for private sector should be constituted.
The meeting was also addressed by other BMS leaders including Shri Hazi Akhtar Hussain, Sardar Kartar Singh, Shri K Lakshma Reddy, Shri Udairao Patwardhan, Smt Anusuia Mishra and Dr BK Rai.