Workers’ convention asks Centre to stop privatisation, warns of strike at the end of 2023

Trade union leaders caution against the growing disparity and inequity in the country that’s making life miserable for the common masses

Updated - January 31, 2023 07:37 am IST

Published - January 30, 2023 09:59 pm IST - New Delhi

CITU general secretary Tapan Sen addressing the national convention of workers on Monday. Photo: Special Arrangement

CITU general secretary Tapan Sen addressing the national convention of workers on Monday. Photo: Special Arrangement

The National Convention of Workers organised by 10 Central Trade Unions (CTU), and independent sectoral associations and federations here on Monday decided to hold year-long campaigns against the policies of the Centre. The trade unions also warned of strikes in various sectors at the end of the year if the Centre continues policies of privatisation and corporatisation of public sector.

The protests will begin with State, district and factory-level conventions and State-wide rallies, culminating into a State-wide march on August 9, the Quit India Day. The meeting resolved to fight back labour codes, policies of privatisation of public sector undertakings (PSU), sale of national resources and assets to corporates, subjugation of the Indian economy to international capital to the detriment of Indian self-reliance, sovereignty and independence. The unions condemned the “efforts of the Centre” to defend “crony capitalists” and demanded a probe into the allegations made against the Adani Group of Companies by the Hindenburg research report. Citing a recent Oxfam report, the trade union leaders cautioned against the growing disparity and inequity in the country that’s making life miserable for the common masses.

“The Government which failed on all fronts to deliver on the promises is now allowing the forces of communal hatred and polarisation under various pretext to divert the united agitations of workers, farmers and other sections of the society from their pressing issues of livelihood and survival. It is undermining the secular democratic ethos of our society by using all democratic institutions to stifle the voice of opposition to the government policies,” a statement by the trade unions said. They also resolved that workers under their unions would fight to safeguard national unity and harmonious living, and would move to defeat these policies in the national interest with all their might.

The declaration said the Centre’s policies have proved to be disastrous for the national economy, and for the unity and integrity of the country. “When we look back and take stock of the more than eight years of the BJP Rule, since 2014, it presents the picture of a government-driven onslaught on the lives and livelihood of the people and their basic rights pushing overwhelming majority of our people into unimaginable miseries, distress and destitution. Job losses and unemployment have been rising unabated,” the declaration said, demanding a white paper on economy.

They demanded that the MGNREGA scheme be expanded to 200 days in a year with an increased remuneration, and a similar scheme brought in for urban areas as well. “But the government has drastically reduced the budgetary allocation; the number of work days has come down to less than 50 days per year; even the reduced allocation is returned unutilised. Drastic cut in budgetary allocations has been made in almost all welfare schemes and peoples-related projects,” the declaration said.

They also demanded universal, government-funded social security and pension schemes, scrapping of the “retrograde market driven” National Pension System (NPS), and demanded the restoration of the old pension scheme (OPS). “But the Government is moving in the opposite direction; the Finance Minister arrogantly refused to scrap the NPS. We express our support and solidarity to the movement of various forums for restoration of OPS. We demand implementation of Supreme Court judgement on EPS 95 and minimum pension in EPS 95 to be raised to ₹ 8000 per month,” the statement added.

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