NATIONAL

Trade unions plan strike

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: A national convention of trade unions on Saturday decided to hold a nationwide general strike on September 29 to protest against the Government's economic policies. Over 700 unions representing various sections of economy attended the convention.

The unions said the policies were proving to be a disaster for the working class and the common man. Stating that the "working people and the toiling masses of the country cannot countenance this all-round drift towards disaster," a declaration adopted at the meeting said the Government should "immediately effect a directional change in its economic policies."

The declaration said that despite its professed commitment to a strong and effective public sector, the Government had started the process of privatisation of profit-making public sector undertakings through disinvestment. \

It said that the Finance Minister's justification for such a move as being necessary for mobilising resources for social sector expenditure and for rehabilitation of sick PSUs was "reprehensible."

"It indicates a mindset to abdicate the Government responsibility for raising resources, through budgetary and taxation measures, to finance schemes aimed at welfare of the people."

Listing the various "failures" of the Government, it noted that in the name of dismantling the Inspector Raj, the Government had virtually abandoned its responsibility to enforce various labour legislations and had allowed employers to trample upon every rule and law.

"Proliferation of contracting, sub-contracting and outsourcing has reached such dimensions that the threat of totally obliterating permanency and security of jobs looms large before the working people."

The Government, it pointed out, was "stubbornly refusing" to constitute the Sixth Pay commission long after expiry of the period of operation for the Fifth Pay Commission and to amend the Bonus Act, though the present provisions of the legislation with income ceilings for eligibility and calculation of bonus have led to an overwhelming majority of workers to be outside its purview.

The meeting was attended, among others, by CITU general secretary Chittabrata Majumdar, AITUC general secretary Gurudas Dasgupta, and Umraomal Purohit of HMS.

The strike will be preceded by demonstrations in all workplaces and industrial centres between August 27 and September 7 and observance of a National Mobilisation Day on September 15.

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