Srinagar, September 23: As part of nationwide protests against the aggressive moves of the BJP government to suppress and alter labour rights legislations, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) held protests across Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday. The protests were held at Press Enclave Srinagar while maintaining social distancing norms.
While demanding immediate halt to changes in labour laws, Ab. Rashid Najar CITU leader said the aggressive moves of the BJP government to suppress and alter labour rights legislations through executive orders/ ordinances, aggressive and destructive disinvestment/privatization of central and state public sector enterprises, continuing job losses, wage cuts, forced premature retirements being imposed on government employees , anti-people changes in management of agriculture and farm trade were anti- people and disastrous for national interest.
The Unemployment rate which had been the worst in 45 years in 2019 is rising with a speed never seen before. The government is totally in denial mode rather twisting the facts to paint a picture of everything being normal and that the economy is reviving at full scale. The so-called package of revival of 20 lakh crores had been exposed by the economists as practically fraudulent manipulation in the name of relief to the poor whereas not even 1% of that Rs 20 lakh crore has flown to common people.
The sufferings of front rank pandemic fighters-doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, Safai Karamcharies, ASHAs and Anganwadi workers continues to rise with every passing day with the government remaining stubbornly negative on their basic entitlements related demands.
The protesters demanded free universal healthcare for all, 10-kg free food grains per person per month to all needy for 6 months, Rs.7500 per month for all non tax- paying families for next six months or unemployment allowance.
Besides they also demanded enacting and implementing urban employment guarantee, the Ordinances/executive orders on Essential Commodities, Farm Trade, Electricity Act and Labour Laws’, EIA and National Digital Health Mission, withdrawal of NEP 2020, no Privatisation of PSEs and Services.
They also demanded safety gear and PPEs to all front line workers including ASHAs, anganwadi employees, NHM workers etc on Covid 19 duty, Rs.50 lakhs insurance, risk allowance, implementation of the recommendations of 45th and 46th ILC for regularization of scheme workers as workers; Pay Minimum wages Rs.21000 per month and pension Rs.10000 per month, withdrawal of the proposals for privatization of basic services such as electricity, health (including hospitals), nutrition (including ICDS and MDMS) and education, stopping privatisation of PSEs and Services.
The other demands include increase in the budget allocation for Central Schemes, no increase in working hours from 8 to 12 hours, urgent measures for containing price-rise through universalisation of public distribution system and banning speculative trade in commodity market, containing unemployment through concrete measures for employment generation, strict enforcement of all basic labour laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws, universal social security cover for all workers, assured enhanced pension not less than Rs.10,000/- p.m. for the entire working population. The protestors also urged the administration to release the pending wages of casual/season/need-based labourers and ease out the mining process in J&K.
J&K govt has announced a relief package of 1350 crore for different sectors including drivers, transporters. It is learnt that it will be born by the J&K BUILDING AND OTHER CONSTRUCTION WORKERS WELFARE BOARD by registering the said transport workers. The welfare fund is collected in the shape of cess particularly meant for the registered construction workers and their dependents. The transporters and drivers however fall in the category of unorganised workers but at present are not eligible for registration under BOCW ACT. The utilisation of cess amount for other purposes is in contravention with the existing law, BOCW ACT. The relief package is a welcome step, however it may be provided from other resources.
The protest demonstration was addressed by Misra,Rifat, Mubeena, Dilsha,Rafiqi leaders of ASHA Workers Union, Mehooba,Misra, Lateefa leaders of Anganwadi Worker Union, Ab Rashid Pandit,Bashir Ahmad Bashir leaders of Construction Workers Union, Mohamad Iqbal of Non-Gazeetted PDD Employees Union and Shabir Ahmad Bhat and Myser Hamid leaders of Social Forestry Union, Pulwama.