17th Triennial Conference in Jaipur
Countrywide protest on March 12 at all district headquarters seeking immediate redress to the workers
Suraj Maidan of ‘Pink City’ Jaipur turned saffron on February 21 when about 2000 workers of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) from across the country including distant areas like Manipur, Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar islands gathered for 17thTriennial Conference. Delegates from Rashtriya Shramik Sangh Nepal, International Labour Organisation Regional Director Tina Staermose and leaders of 10 central trade unions also attended the three day conference which concluded on February 23.
The presence of RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi energised the BMS workers and his thought providing speech on labour movement moved the representatives of other central trade unions. Distinguished leaders from such unions including Jagdish Raj Shrimali (INTUC), Smt Amarjeet Kaur (AITUC), Com. Deb Roy (CITU), Harbhajan Singh Sidhu (HMS) and SP Tiwari (TUCC) were present at the inaugural session. They appreciated the efforts made by the BMS in strengthening trade union movement and making unity among central trade unions to fight against the anti-labour policies of the Central Government.
Other prominent dignitaries who attended the conference were RSS Sahsarkaryavah Shri Dattatreya Hosabale and Dr Anjali Deshpande of Drishti Adhyayan Prabodhan Kendra, Pune.
The conference adopted prominently four resolutions on social security for all, 7th pay commission, economic situation of the country and issues of unorganised workers. The issue of social security for all dominated the conference, as all the workers expressed concern over the pitiable condition of the unorganised sector workers. State Governments are not implementing the labour laws and the facilities regulated by the Centre. In Nagaland, there is even ban on forming unions; it is violation of the labour law there. In some sectors labourers are working for 30 years but still they are working on contract. State Government is not accepting them as permanent workers. Some of the labourers died on duty but their families did not get any compensation. Health insurance is also not being provided. What could be more pitiable than the fact that even the office of Employees Provident Fund is not in Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura and people of these states have to go to Assam for this work. Many requests have been made to the PF Department, but in vain.
“BMS was not started because there were less numbers of trade unions in the country. The objective was to form an organisation, which believes in Nation First. BMS is a movement of nationalism and not a bread butter union like others,” said Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi while inaugurating the conference. He said a lot of progress is witnessed in the last 66 years in all the fields education, health, information technology, but still 40-45 per cent people of the country are constrained to live below poverty line. Out of 6 lakh villages, only 1-1.25 lakh have secondary education facility. Labourers find it difficult to earn bread and butter for the family after putting 14-15 hours of hectic work every day. Overall development of these people should be the target of the activists of BMS. Importance of an organisation is not in numbers but in skills and awareness of the activists which come true only by study and thought process, Bhaiyaji added.
ILO Regional Director Tina Staermose stressed the need that the Government of India should implement the resolutions of ILO adopted at 87 and 98th Conventions with immediate effect. She applauded the efforts of BMS to awaken the workers of unorganised sector.
A delegate from Jammu & Kashmir pointed out that there is no labour policy in J&K and the State Government has not called the meeting of Labour Advisory Board since the last 25 years. There is a term called Triple Tight in which Government representatives and industrialists participate for betterment of the workers. Even that has also not been called for 25 years. There has been protests all over J&K. Memorandums have been presented to authorities concerned but there is no response. None of the Government authority is following the labour laws whether it is Centre or the State. The officials and departments, which have to look after the labour problems are also not working responsibly.
The condition of Anganwadi workers is also very pitiable in the country. At present around 1.4 lakh women are working as Anganwadi workers, helpers and mini-Anganwadi workers across Odisha. Anjali Patel of Anganwadi Ladies Workers’ Association said following a strong protest by Anganwadi workers the State Government last month increased the salary but it is too low. “We are demanding at least Rs12000 per month salary, regularisation of jobs and pension of Rs 3000 per month. We are also demanding promotion of mini-Anganwadi workers into Anganwadi workers,” she said.
A book, Ten years of UPA Government: Collapse of a powerful economy, written by former BMS president CK Saji Narayanan was also released on the occasion.
—Nishant Kumar Azad from Jaipur
BMS should lead the labourers around the globe: Lakshmi Bhatt
Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) is an inspiration for the trade unions of other countries also. It is number one trade union in India and I have learnt many things from it. I have never seen this number of people at one place for one cause,” said Lakshmi Bhatt, president of Rashtriya Shramik Sangh, Nepal while talking to Organiser. He said social security is a big issue in Nepal also. We are demanding the Nepalese Government to provide identity cards to labourers, assurance of minimum 100 day wages, education and health insurance of workers’ children, accidental insurance and training programme for unskilled worker so that they can earn more. Participation of worker in policy making, because it is only the worker who can understand the feeling of workers. There are so many labourers who lost their lives while working. Therefore, there must be accidental insurance for all workers, he added. A five member delegation from Nepal attended the conference.
New team of BMS
President: Baij Nath Rai
Vice-Presidents: K Lakshma Reddy, Dr BK Rai, Kartar Singh Rathore, Hirenmaya J Pandya, Kumari Mangalamba, Prem Singh Marko, M Jagdishwar Rao, Kailashnath Sharma
General Secretary: Brijesh Upadhyaya
Organising Secretary: Krishna Chandra Mishra
Deputy Organising Secretary: B Surendran
Secretaries: Jayantilal, N Tomba Singh, KP Singh, S Durairaj, Gokulananda Jena, Sohanlal Gupta, Smt Pramodini Das, Sukhdev Mishra, Devendra Pande
Finance Secretary: SK Rathore
Deputy Finance Secretary: Jagdish Joshi