Unions demand wage hike, oppose anti-labour reforms

September 02, 2016 12:00 am | Updated September 22, 2016 04:39 pm IST - New Delhi:

The one-day all-India strike by trade unions on Friday is expected to be the biggest so far. A look at the key questions related to the agitation.

Which are the trade unions participating?

All the central trade unions, except BMS, and the majority of independent trade unions are participating.

Which sectors?

All private, public sector, and unorganised sector workers, except Railways and non-industrial workers in government NGOs, are expected to join.

What is the composition of India’s workforce?

Total strength of workforce: 472.9 million as per NSSO 2011-12.

As per 2011-12 NSSO data, 87% of India’s workforce was in the unorganised sector and only 13 were in the organised sector; 94.8% in the organised sector were informal workers, only 10.6% were formal; 89.4% in unorganised sector were informal workers, only 5.2% were formal.

How many workers are participating?

According to media estimates, 15 crore workers took part in the strike last year, and all the unions expect the numbers to be more this year.

What are the striking workers’ demands?

There were five demands in the first all-India strike in 2010, and seven more were added in the subsequent strikes. Among the 12 major demands are the following: minimum wage of not less than Rs. 18,000 per month; stop contractualisation of labour for perennial work, and ensure the payment of same wage and benefits for contract workers as regular workers; scrapping of proposed labour law amendments and universal social security for all workers.

How many years has the all-India strike on Sept. 2 been going on?

This is the fourth all-India strike since the coming together of the central unions in 2009. The earlier ones were in 2010, 2011 and 2015.

How has the nature of the strikers changed over the years?

There is a greater proportion of unorganised/informal workers participating in recent years, for two reasons: there has not been much growth in organised sector employment; contract employment in the unorganised and organised sectors has been growing.

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