Shimla, May 17
On call of ten trade unions and dozen of labour federations across the country 22 May would be observed as ‘National Protest day’ against Narendra Modi Government for changing and diluting the labour laws in favour of big corporate.
In a press statement issued here today by Himachal Pradesh Joint coordination forum convener Dr Kashmir Singh , INTUC state President Baba Hardip Singh, AITUC state president Jagdish Chander Bhardwaj and CITU state president Vajinder Mehra said that the protest would be held against dilution and scraping of various labour laws in many state during the lock down. Ten trade unions and dozens of workers federation have also decided to raise this issue before International Labour Organisation(ILO).
CITU, INTUC, AITUC and other trade unions would do a hunger strike at Rajghat in New Delhi on May 22. Similar protests would be organised on the state, district and block headquarter level. In the state protest would be held in every district headquarter and workers would come out in protest from their work stations, villages, commercial units and mining sites to oppose the change in the labour law.
They blamed that ruling class was using the lock down to increase exploitation of working class, which is evident from the fact that labour laws have been changed in the many state including Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasathan.
Without taking the workers in confidence these states have recently made changes to Factory Act 1948 i.e increased working hours from eight to 12. This would lead to massive retrenchment in the units at one end and give birth to massive exploitation on the other, they alleged.
By changing the complete definition of Factory in the Act, two third of the working force in these unit will be effected. Similarly thousands of contract workers were kept out of the preview before making changes in of Contract Worker Act 1970. Even the changes in the Industrial dispute Act 1947 would ban the workers from going on strike/protest and will facilitate the owner/corporate to do massive retrenchment without payment, they informed. Trade unions state that dilution of fundamental laws would give unilateral powers to the factory owners to impose lock down on the unit, start retrenchment and lay off the labours in their unit.
Trade union have decided to submit a memorandum to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur to roll back the above provision. It is worthwhile to mentione here that government of Himachal Pradesh has already decided to change the provisions of these acts in the council of Ministers meeting held on May 13. An approval to make necessary amendments in Sec, -1 of the Contract Labour (R&A) Act, 1970 (37 of 1970) in its application to the State of Himachal Pradesh, in Sub Sec.-4, has been decided. The amendment proposes to enhance the threshold limit for contract employment from 20 to 30 workmen.
The Cabinet also gave its nod for amendment in Sec-2 (m)(i), 2(m)(ii), Sec-65 (3)(iv), Sec-85(1)(i) and insertion of New Sec 106 (b) for compounding of offences in the Factories Act, 1948 by enhancing the existing threshold limits of ten and twenty workers to 20 and 40 respectively. The amendment in clause (IV) 3 of Sec 65 proposes to increase this limit to 115 hours subject to the condition that the overtime will have to be paid twice the rate of ordinary wages. It also gave its consent to make amendment in Sec -22, (I) Sec 25 F(b) Sec-25 K of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, (14 of 1947).