The BJP led NDA Government has taken a clear position to ignore the Farmers and the Workers. The country witnessed an historical Nation wide General Strike on 26/11/2020 in which an estimated more than 20 crore workers participated and raised their voice against the anti labour policies of the present Government. The working class and their Unions condemned the anti- people and anti-labour economic policies of the Government. The workers in Government sector like Defence and Railways, are fighting relentlessly against Corporatisation and Privatisation.
The workers of Coal, BPCL, Electricity, Banks, Insurance, Airport, Air India, Transport and other sectors are fighting against the Pivatisation. The present government has completely surrendered before the Corporates and accepted their version that the existing labour laws and various provisions of these laws such as Trade Union rights, Right to strike, Working hours, collective bargaining, Inspection, enforcement etc., are obstacles for Industrial growth and investments. The Govt. has brush aside the facts that with the existing labour laws, PSUs and Government sector only the country has achieved a massive growth in the industrial and economical spheres. The Govt. wanted to encourage exploitation of Labour by providing and promoting a cheaper Labour market.
The Four Labour codes were arbitrarily enacted by the NDA Government without any discussion either with the Trade Unions or in the Parliament. Even many of the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour was totally ignored. The Labour codes provides for hire and fire in the name of Fixed Term Employment. Inspection by Labour Inspector for enforcement of Labour laws will now become a past history. We all witnessed the miseries of the migrant workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic and lockdown. Neither the employer nor the Govt. provided any protection or relief to them.
The BJP Government declared lockdown and fully utilized the period to implement all its anti-people and anti Labour policies. In the name of COVID-19 relief package Govt. in violation of all the previous and past assurances decided to corporatize the 219 years old 41 Indian Ordnance Factories into a corporation/PSU only to privatise the same, to Corporatise the Railway Production Units, Privatisation Railways and so on.
The BJP Government always show a deaf ear to the voice of the workers and their Trade Unions. The Tripartite Mechanism of Indian Labour conference which was supposed to be held once in a year was not held after 2015. The present Govt. doesn’t believe in social dialogue and collective bargaining. It is not that the Govt is ignoring the AITUC, HMS, CITU, INTUC, LPF and other Central Trade Unions. It ignores its own Parivar the BMS. The Trade Unions are the Organisations who are competent to advise and guide the Govt. in Labour matters. However, the present Govt. doesn’t consider so. The 12 million Farmers with almost a lakh Tractors, are now at Delhi and at the border of Delhi after completing a long march from different parts of the country. The farmers are fighting
for their rights. They have decided to stage a long drawn battle at Delhi, the capital of our country. They have come prepared to stay at Delhi with food and other essential items, warm clothing etc. They have broken police barricades. A young farmer Navdeep Singh flung himself from his moving Tractor trolley towards the Police vehicle to turnoff the water cannon. Now the police have booked him under the charges of attempted murder. Several political parties including CPI, CPI(M), NCP, DMK and RJD have attacked the Central Govt. for the police action against the Farmers. They have condemned the way Govt. is treating the farmers and their agitation by tear gassing, heavy water canning, Road blocking, Police barricade and digging of the National Highways etc.
The Government is wagging a war on the Farmers. The Government has failed to address the concern of the Farmers. The workers and the Farmers are left with no option than to demonstrate their strength and raise their voice in whatever manner possible through relentless struggle. The 26 th Nov. 2020 General Strike of the Workers and the Farmers protest at Delhi is definitely a signal to the people of the country who are struggling and subjected to hardship due to the anti people policies of the Govt. to be prepared for a larger struggle, since the present Government doesn’t believe in social dialogue, Industrial democracy and collective bargaining. The united struggle of the larger section of the society will only force the Govt. to listen to the voice of the Farmers and workers.
Views expressed here are those of C.Srikumar, General Secretary of All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF) and also the National Executive Member of AITUC