Workers protest against government’s ‘anti-labour policies’
Christopher Fonseca, general secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Goa, on Thursday warned the State government that in case it failed to protect the rights of the working people, the AITUC would be compelled to unleash a militant struggle in the near future to protect and safeguard the rights of the working people and would give a call for an indefinite industrial bandh in Goa.
The senior trade union leader was addressing hundreds of AITUC workers who courted arrest on Thursday at Kranti Circle on the outskirts of the city to oppose the “anti-labour policies adopted by the State government”. The activists were later released by the Collector.
Mr. Fonseca criticised the government for not resolving the industrial unrest prevailing at Zuari Agro Chemicals Ltd. (ZACL) at Zuarinagar in south Goa. He suspected that the State labour machinery was siding with managements while resolving labour disputes.
The workers raised slogans denouncing the illegal retrenchment of workers of ZACL and demanded job security and safe working conditions to the thousands of contract workers employed in various factories and industries all over Goa. They also demanded immediate revision of the minimum wage to Rs. 12,000 a month linked to the Dearness Allowance.
R.D. Mangueshkar, AITUC deputy general secretary; Prasanna Utagi, president; and Suhaas Naik, secretary, addressed the agitators.
The workers and their leaders criticised the State government and blamed it for “mass retrenchment, termination of services, jobless growth and increasing unemployment”.
Mr. Mangueshkar said that owing to lack of a labour protection policy, factories were being closed without even paying the legitimate dues of workmen.
Advocate Suhaas Naik said that the attack on contract, casual and daily wage workers had increased manifold. Contract workers were made to work in exploitative conditions. The situation of contract workers in government departments was not any different.
Mr. Utagi criticised the State government for suspending mining operations in Goa in September 2012, which had turned out to be the biggest attack on workers as well as a serious blunder, dispossessing a large number of workers in the mining industry at one go.
Later a memorandum was submitted to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar listing the demands.