Cover Story: Expectations of the labour
Working class suffered the most during the last 10 years of UPA misrule. In 2009, the workforce in organised sector was 8 per cent, which decreased to 6 per cent in 2012. The nation might have made progress during these years but about 2 per cent workers from organised sector have been pushed into unorganised sector. It is obvious that contract system is strengthening day-by-day. Even the Ministry, which acts as a nodal agency to implement the clauses of Contract Labour (abolition & regulation) Act 1972, is itself hiring people on contract.
Like other countrymen, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and the central trade unions also thought that the working class should see the good days (achhe din). We have placed our opinion before the government through Finance Minister on June 6, 2014. We have demanded the government to check price rise and amend Companies Act to announce the cost of production as has been done by setting up Farmers Commission to fix the price of their products so that the consumers are aware of the difference between the cost of production and the retail price of the product.
Workers expect the government should strengthen the implementing agencies of labour laws in proper manner. The government should put an end to the system of recruiting labour on contract in core activities and start recruitment in permanent nature of vacancies. Till that time the workers working as contract be paid equal salaries at par with the regular employees in the same category. The BMS expects the government to behave with their employees as a model employer for better productivity.
The government has been running ICDs project for the last 39 years for welfare of children and pregnant woman through women workers called Anganwadi workers numbering about 26 lakh. They are paid Rs 3000 per month as honororium. These Anganwadi workers have been denied the status of government employees. It is not known how many more years this project would continue. Therefore, the government should declare this project a government department, as it implements nearly 42 schemes of central and state governments.
Workers expect from the government to honour the decisions taken in tripartite fora like Indian Labour Conference, where it has been decided to increase the wage ceiling limit in upto Rs 15,000 from existing 6500 and minimum pension of Rs 3000 with indexisation along with a free health card to pensioners.
We also want an end to disinvestment of profit making PSUs. The UPA government had passed Organised Sector Social Security Bill in 2008 but failed to provide sufficient funds to implement the schemes. Therefore, the employees now expect the government sufficient budgetary support for implementation of social security schemes.
-Pawan Kumar(The writer is north zone organising secretary of Bharatiya Mazadoor Sangh)