NEW DELHI: Members of various labour unions took part in a protest rally on Parliament Street here on Friday demanding, among other things, that the Union Government take immediate measures to control price rise, stop disinvestment of profit-making public sector undertakings and provide social security to workers in both the organised and unorganised sectors.
The protest was part of a nation-wide “jail bharo” agitation launched collectively by all the Central trade unions.
All-India Trade Union Congress general secretary Gurudas Dasgupta, Indian National Trade Union Congress president G. Sanjeeva Reddy and Centre of Indian Trade Unions president M. K. Pandhe later courted arrest along with the protestors.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Gurudas Dasgupta said: “More than 10 lakh workers are participating in the agitation demanding that the government bring down prices of petrol, diesel and also fertilizers. The struggle will continue till the government fulfils the demands of the workers. We have collectively launched an agitation throughout the country mainly against price rise, violation of labour laws, disinvestment of profit-making public sector undertakings, job loss and failure of the government to set up a national welfare fund for the agricultural and unorganised workers.''
Stating that the workers were the worst hit due to price rise, Mr. Reddy said labourers were unable to meet the basic needs of their families.
Mr. Pandhe said: “Workers are deeply troubled by price rise. The public distribution system in the country has completely failed and the government should provide essential food items at affordable prices.''The protestors said they would intensify their agitation if the government does not heed their demands. “We have been constantly reminding the government about the adverse effect of price rise, privatisation and outsourcing but we are yet to get any relief,'' said Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh general secretary Rishi Pal Singh.
“Though the government has been talking about economic recovery for over a year, the fact remains that in India over 10 lakh workers have lost their jobs due to closure of industries and have been hit hard because of the price rise and corruption,'' he added. Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh member Puran Sharma said: “We feel that the government has been working against the poor and for the rich by encouraging disinvestment of the PSUs and providing growth avenues to the private sector.''