MUMBAI: Nearly thousands of trade unionists collected at Azad Maidan in Mumbai today, to undertake The Warning Morcha, on the occasion of International Workers Day or Labor Day, which falls on May 1. The march or the protest stood termed as a ‘warning morcha’ , was simply organised to express resistance and dissent over anti-labour and anti-people policies of the BJP-led Centre as well as Maharashtra government.
The Morcha accommodated trade unions from all across the state, followed the call for protest by Trade Unions Joint Action Committee (TUJAC), which comprises more than 34 trade unions including Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), and Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS).
The Morcha comes as a consequence of Maharashtra government’s recent decision to amend Industrial Dispute Act, 1947, which says that factories with 100 or more workers have to seek permission from the government before closing down. Through the proposed amendment, the government wants to increase this number to 300.
As D L Karad, state president of CITU, had pointed out earlier, the number of workers employed at factories has decreased due to the increasing automation of industrial processes and advancement in technologies. So, the amendment in the Act will help the factory owners to close their industrial units.
Demanding that the the minimum number of workers should be made 50 via an amendment in the Act, TUJAC has initiated a signature campaign. “Collecting more than one crore signatures from workers, we will meet the government officials, either chief minister or governor, by the second week of May and it will be submitted,” said K.R. Raghu, state finance secretary of CITU.
A minimum monthly salary of Rs 18,000 for all workers, bonus that constitutes at least 12 percent of the salary, status of government employees for scheme workers including Anganwadi and Asha workers, equal pay for equal work, abolition of contract system, curb on privatisation of services related to traffic, water, electricity, education and health, reversal of the disinvestment drive in fuel, energy, banking, insurance and coal sectors, change in pro-corporate and liberal policies and strict implementation labour laws are some of the key demands in the charter, which have been put forward by the trade unions.
Air India employees, who oppose the proposed privatisation of the national carrier, also took out a march to Azad Maidan from Flora Fountain. Earlier, a statement by the joint forum of Air India unions had said, “We are on a threshold of a grave attack on our national carrier and also on our own livelihoods due to the decision to selling Air India (sic).”
With inputs from : Newsclick.in