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Workers must unite against ‘anti-labour’ govt: Pawar

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Dubbing the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre and the State as “anti-labour”, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday accused the governments of “protecting” the interests of industrialists. He urged workers to show their collective might to the government.

Addressing a labour convention organised by his party in Mumbai, Mr. Pawar said the BJP government at Centre as well as in Maharashtra had framed policies that encouraged the contract labour system. The unemployed, he said, are turning towards contract labour, and do not have any legal protection. This scenario needs to change, and labour unions should prepare for a strong fight against these policies, he said.

Speaking at the YB Chavan Centre in South Mumbai, Mr. Pawar said Maharashtra has the largest number of workers, and lamented the lost glory of labour unions and their power to control Mumbai. He said when Lokmanya Tilak was arrested by the British, Mumbai’s workers organised a six-day strike to show their might to the government. “A similar unjust situation has arisen again. So, all workers must unite, and show their collective power to the government,” he said, assuring workers that the NCP would support their struggle.

Mr. Pawar said the incumbent governments did not care about workers, and has made changes to labour laws that were pro-workers. “They are protecting the interests of industrialists more than workers,” he said. He said earlier, factories with 100 workers on their rolls had to seek government permission to shut down but now, the number had been increased to 300. This will make workers vulnerable, he said.

Mr. Pawar said he was in favour of industrialisation, but any industry can survive only if the workers are able to do so. Taunting State Labour Minister Prakash Mehta, he said, “When I heard his name, I wondered what his connection with workers is.”

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 6:38:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/Workers-must-unite-against-%E2%80%98anti-labour%E2%80%99-govt-Pawar/article14424920.ece

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