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Workers’ unions strike: Mamata says no bandhs, Left claims she is afraid of them gathering forces

The strike, organised by trade unions, has been called to protest against the changes being made in the labour laws by the Centre as well as the issues affecting the sector

  The strike, organised by trade unions across party lines — in Bengal, both Left and Congress unions would participate — has been called to protest against the changes being made in the labour laws by the Centre and also issues affecting the sector

THE ALL-INDIA strike called by workers’ unions on September 2 seems to have become a bone of contention between CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. While the Left claims it would be a total bandh, Mamata has opposed it vehemently, saying that no more bandhs would be allowed in Bengal.

The strike, organised by trade unions across party lines — in Bengal, both Left and Congress unions would participate — has been called to protest against the changes being made in the labour laws by the Centre and also issues affecting the sector.

According to Left leaders, unlike in the past, it would not only be an industrial strike, but would extend to a general bandh with shops and businesses likely to be shut. “In various tweets and statements, Mishra has said that the strike is not aimed at the state government. Then why is the CM opposed to it? After all, it’s a countrywide strike. Other than Trinamool Congress, only Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangha (BJP’s workers union) is against the strike,” a Left leader said.

“While Mamata has been engaged in a verbal spat with the Centre, we feel she fears that the strike will give the Left traction to gather forces once more,” the leader added.

The strike, organised jointly by central trade unions and independent national federations of employees, including Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers, is aimed to work towards the implementation of social security measures, which are “under attack”.

These include pension for post-2004 entrants in central government services, who have had to face cuts in interest on small savings deposits.

The unions are demanding social security for workers and minimum wage of not less than 18,000 per month. They also want assured enhanced pension not less than 3,000 per month for all sectors, including unorganised workers. They also want FDI to be removed from railways, defence and other “strategic sectors”.

A statement issued by Left had said that by “ignoring the united opposition of the working class”, the government has been trying to “demolish” the existing labour laws, thereby empowering the employers with unfettered rights to “hire and fire” and stripping workers and trade unions of all their rights and protection provided in laws.

“The anti-worker and authoritarian attitude of the government is also nakedly reflected in their refusal to implement the consensus recommendations of 43rd, 44th and 45th Indian Labour Conference for formulations of minimum wages, equal wage and benefits of regular workers to the contract workers…” it added.

Left leaders maintained that the policies of the Centre, such as downsizing, outsourcing, contractorisation, corporatization and privatization has affected the central government employees in the worst manner. Ban on creation of new posts and non-filling up of around six lakh posts had increased the workload of the employees and affected the efficiency of the services.

The New Pension Scheme — implemented from January 1, 2004 — is nothing but a “no pension scheme”, as it is fully dependent on the vagaries of share market forces, said a leader.

Read at  http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/workers-unions-strike-mamata-says-no-bandhs-left-claims-she-is-afraid-of-them-gathering-forces-3001338/




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