SRINAGAR: As a part of country-wide general strike call on 8,9 January, different protest demonstration were held under the banner of CITU at Kathua, Budgam, Baramulla,Shopian,Anantnag, Kulgam, Kupwara, Manasabal, Ganderbal and Bandipora in support of 12-point charter of demands including urgent measures for containing price-rise, containing unemployment through concrete measures, strict enforcement of all basic labour laws and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws, universal social security cover for all workers, minimum wages of not less than Rs 18,000/- per month with provisions of indexation, stoppage of disinvestment in Central/State PSUs and strategic sale, stoppage of contractorisation in permanent perennial work and payment of same wage and benefits for contract workers as regular workers for same and similar work. A big protest demonstration was held here at Jammu. The protest rally was addressed by different trade union leaders who expressed their concern over problems being faced by the working class. The two days’ strike is part of the continuous struggle against the anti-worker and anti-people neoliberal regime, which the BJP led government is pursuing with vigor and brutality.
While addressing the rally, Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami, State President CITU expressed serious concern over the plight of the working class who are badly hit by the neo-liberal economic policies pursued by the Central and State governments. These policies are affecting the workforce across the country including our state. Recently Modi government approved amendment to the Trade Unions Act of 1926. The proposed amendment reveals government’s dubious intention to impose conditions of slavery on the working people. This will also give a platform for the government to interfere in state- and central-level unions.
The government is formulating labour laws which are totally pro-corporate and anti-labour class in nature, which are bound to curtail the social security benefits to the working force. The employment situation has worsened under the neoliberal regime with steep fall in permanent jobs and increase in precarious jobs like contract, casual, temporary, fixed term, part time, apprentices, trainees etc. The unemployment being a cause of serious concern has not been addressed by the successive governments thereby putting our youth in a state of despair. Under-employment is also gaining momentum as highly qualified and skilful youth are doing low end and unskilled jobs. The government has not taken measures to maximize employment opportunities.
Daily Wagers,Casual Labouers,Need Based, Seasonal, Anganwadi workers/helpers, ASHA’s under NHM, CPWs, Mid-Day Meal Workers, MGNREGA employees, Contractuals, are neglected and their long pending demands are not met. They are not even brought under social security cover and minimum wage act, adding that the workers engaged in various projects and schemes are not even paid what the government has already notified. He called for mass struggles to fight the onslaught of the anti-labour policies of the central government, due to which every section of the society has been bearing the brunt.
Om Parkash, General Secretary CITU while addressing the workers said that Modi government will spare no effort to push through some key labour reforms in the new year and is expected to get Parliament's nod on at least two codes on wages as well as industrial relations before going to general elections. He highlighted the issue of Rehri- Fadi workers of Jammu and strongly demanded to protect the rights of the venders at the earliest. He further demanded that workers engaged for construction of Railway and Four Lane Roads from Jammu to Kashmir and contractual workers of Hydro Power Projects, factory/industrial workers and unorganized sector workers, daily rated, contractual, need based, contingency workers, ASHA workers, Anganwadi, MDM workers should be paid minimum wages of Rs. 18000/- and also be covered under social security schemes like ESI, Pension, EPF .
Ghulam Nabi Malik, Genral Secretary Kisan Tehreek in his address said that agrarian distress remains largely unaddressed in the whole country including J&K state. The government is yet to implement the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission. He said that crop insurance scheme launched in Jammu regions has not been fully implemented. The state being vulnerable to natural calamities, implementation of crop insurance scheme can provide respite to the calamity affected kisans and orchardists. He also demanded waiving off all agricultural loans to the small farmers across the state.
Others who spoke on the occasion include Pawan Gupta and Romesh Chand of LIC union, Anita Rajput of ASHA workers union, Surwan Kumar of Rehdi and Fuddi workers union, Muzafar Wani senior CITU leader, Ramesh Chand of Kalakote Coal Mine workers union.
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