NATIONAL CONVENTION OF WORKERS
8th August 2017, Talkatora Indoor Stadium,New Delhi
The National Convention of Workers being held today, the 8th August 2017, in Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi jointly called by the ten Central Trade Unions, in association with all independent National Federations of Workers and Employees of both Industrial and Service sectors, expresses serious concern over the deteriorating situation in the national economy due to the pro- corporate, anti-national and anti-people policies pursued by the Narendra Modi Government, grievously impacting the livelihood of the working people across the country.
The Convention notes with utter dismay that the Government has been continuing to arrogantly ignore the 12 point Charter of Demands on minimum wage, social security, workers’ status and pay and facilities for the scheme workers, against privatization and mass scale contractorisation etc. being jointly pursued by the entire trade union movement of the country. Despite numerous nationwide joint strike actions, the most prominent being those of 2nd September 2015 and 2nd September 2016, participated by crores of workers against the policies of the Governments, the ruling regime at the centre has been increasing onslaught on the rights and livelihood of the working people of the country. Both the organized as well as unorganized sectors are victims alike.
The National convention unanimously condemns in strongest term the conspiratorial and authoritarian attack of the BJP government to deprive the biggest central trade union in the country, the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) from all representations in the tripartite and bipartite forums and committees including in the international forum. This is nothing but a severe and henous onslaught on the rights of the entire trade union movement. It will be unitedly fought back and national convention pledges for that.
Unemployment situation is getting aggravated with employment generation practically turned negative even in the most labour intensive sectors. The phenomenon of closure and shut-down of industries and the forecast of huge job-loss in the IT sector is adding fuel to the fire. Price-rise of essential commodities including public transport, electricity, medicines etc is mounting pressure on daily life of the people in general leading to widening as well as deepening impoverishment. Hasty implementation of GST has added fuel to fire. Drastic cut in Government expenditure in social sector and various welfare schemes has made the conditions of workers, particularly those in unorganized sector more precarious.
The anti-labour authoritarian character of the Government is all the more evident in their refusal to implement even the consensus recommendations (in which the Government was also a party) of the successive Indian Labour Conferences in respect of equal pay and benefits for equal work for the contract workers, formulation of minimum wage on the norms agreed by 15th ILC/Supreme Court Judgment and workers status for the scheme workers viz., Anganwadi, Mid-Day-Meal and ASHA etc. Shockingly Modi Government is even refusing to implement the recent Judgments of the Supreme Court of the country on the most genuine issue of “equal wage and benefits for same work” and on EPS, 1995 on contribution and calculation of pension on actual pay and dearness allowance.
Despite opposition of all the trade unions in the country irrespective of affiliations, the Government has been aggressively pushing through its programme of pro-employer and utterly anti-worker labour law reforms which is aimed at imposing the condition of slavery on the working people. The latest onslaught is the move to evolve a ’Social Security Code’ by dismantling and demolishing the existing statutory Social Security infrastructure under Employees Provident Fund Organization, Coal Mines Provident Fund and Employees State Insurance Corporation and many others welfare statutes, abolition of welfare related cess, and usurp the huge social security fund subscribed by the workers amounting to more than Rs.20 lakh crore and make them available for the speculation in share market under the most deceptive and fraudulent camouflage of ‘universalisation of social security’.
Privatization of all strategic PSUs, including Defence Production, Public Sector Banks and Insurance and also Railways, public road transport, oil, power etc through disinvestment, strategic sale, outsourcing in favour of private sector, promoting 100 per cent FDI in many vital and strategic sectors are increasing day by day. Moreover stripping all the cash rich PSUs from the investible cash reserves are added assaults. In fact Defence Sector privatization move is actually designed to destroy manufacturing capability and Research initiatives developed by the country over last six and half decades. The worst and most dubious is the game plan to outsource more than 50 per cent products including weapons and critical equipments, so long being produced by the Ordinance establishments. Complete privatization of the Railways, step by step, are going on. Operating private trains in the existing tracks built by Railways is being permitted. Moreover free access to railway yards, sheds and workshops for maintenance of private coaches, wagons and engines etc are being offered to private operators. Already 23 railway stations in all metro cities have been shortlisted for privatisation. Railway employees shall be worst victims of privatization in terms of job security, democratic trade union rights and protection of achievements in the areas of pay, perks, social security etc. Like Central Electricity Regulatory Authority (CERC), a Railway Development Authority (RDA) has been created. Given the sky-rocketing increase in electricity tariff by CERC, under RDA railway fare and goods freight is poised to be hiked hurting the common people and benefiting the private profiteers.
Public sector Banks are under attack through various legislative and executive measures. The ultimate target of the Government is privatization and to extend undue favour to the same private corporate crooks, whose default of paying back the loan has put the banking sector in severe difficulties. The retrenchment of contractual employees has been resorted to already in some banks. Insurance sector is also under such attack. Legislative measures to pave the way of privatization of our major ports are also in the advanced stage. CPSUs even including the core and strategic sectors like Energy, Petroleum, Telecom, Metal, Mining, Machine Building, Road, Air and Water Transport, Port & Dock and more are under the privatization onslaught of the Government. The Convention notes that workers of these industries are fighting sectoral battle unitedly. United struggles have been launched by the workers and employees of Government Services Sector including the Scheme Workers as a whole. The Convention extends full support to these struggles.
Attempts are being made by the state governments to dismantle Public sector road transport by issuing route- permits to private parties. The central government intends to get the new Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2017 hastily passed in the current session of parliament which will allow wholesale privatisation of road transport. The convention while taking note of the protest action by transport workers, condemns the state govts. and central govt’s anti people and anti worker moves in the transport sector.
The National Convention of Workers extends full solidarity to the fighting farmers in various states as well as under the Joint National Forums of Peasants’ Organizations. It is the same set of pro-corporate, pro-landlord policies which have created a severe crisis in agriculture, biggest livelihood provider in the economy leading to continuing increase in spate of suicides.
This National Convention of Workers records its strong denunciation against the communal and divisive machinations on the society being carried on with the active patronage of the Government machinery under the present polity. The peace loving secular people in the country are facing a stark situation of terror and insecurity all around. Communal forces are cultivating an atmosphere of conflicts within the society on non-issues. It is disrupting the unity of the workers and the toiling people in general, so vital to carry forward the ongoing struggles based on our 12-point Charter of Demands as detailed above. Working class must raise their strong voice of protest.
The situation before the nation is the deepening all round attack on the rights and livelihood of the working class and the toiling people in general by the private corporate friendly Government of the day. On the other hand the working class has achieved solid unity of the trade union movement and also achieved unprecedented response in the ongoing struggles including the strikes actions opposing such suicidal anti-people policies.
The task before the Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions and independent national federations is to further intensify the surging struggles in various sectors through a concerted united agitation and mobilization at national level to be followed by countrywide general strike action as a culmination and consolidation of all sectoral struggles. The National Convention of workers therefore adopts the following programmes:
1. To work for achieving and accelerating united struggles in all the sectors of the economy on respective demands, which has already begun
2. To Organize Block/District/Industrial Centres/State level massive campaign, mobilisation and convention in preparation to central mobilization to be followed
3. Massive three days dharna at National Capital on 9th,10th and 11th Nov. to be attended by lakhs of workers from all over the country.
4. The National Convention calls upon the working people to prepare for indefinite countrywide strike action against the anti people, anti national activities of the Govt.
The National Convention calls upon working people across the sectors and throughout the country irrespective of affiliations to make the above programmes a total success.
12 POINT CHARTER OF DEMANDS
1. Urgent measures for containing price-rise through universalisation of public distribution system and banning speculative trade in commodity market
2. Containing unemployment through concrete measures for employment generation
3. Strict enforcement of all basic labour laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws.
4. Universal social security cover for all workers
5. Minimum wages of not less than Rs 18,000/- per month with provisions of indexation
6. Assured enhanced pension not less than Rs.3,000/- p.m. for the entire working population
7. Stoppage of disinvestment in Central/State PSUs and strategic sale
8. 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
9. Removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund; increase the quantum of gratuity.
10. Compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days from the date of submitting application; and immediate ratification of ILO Conventions C 87 and C 98
11. Against Labour Law Amendments
12. Against FDI in Railways, Insurance and Defence