Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Ten central trade unions to hold nationwide protest on 26 June


Ten central trade unions (CTUs) will observe a day-long nationwide protest on 26 June in collaboration with farmers' unions.

The two months, which were the biggest witness to the ferocity of the second wave of the pandemic, saw about 23 million job losses - both salaried and non-salaried

NEW DELHI: Ten central trade unions (CTUs) will hold a day-long nationwide protest on 26 June in collaboration with farmers' unions, seeking a host of demands, including the repeal of recently approved farm laws, labour codes, and an income transfer scheme for the poor.

The central unions including All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), among others, said in a joint memorandum that they will continue to agitate for better jobs, decent work environment, better compensation, equality at work and give full support to farmers who will complete seven months of agitation on 26 June.

“It is worth noting that June 26 is also the death anniversary of the legendary farmer leader Swami Sahajanand Saraswati. The protests on June 26th will include sit-ins at Raj Bhavans in various states in addition to district, tehsil level protests all over India," the 10 unions said in a joint statement.

“The CTUs appeal to all their members to reach out to all the sections of people to join hands in this nation-wide action on 26th June," the unions said.

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), one of the largest central unions affiliated to RSS will not participate in the protest. For last few years, BMS has stayed away national strikes and protests organised by central trade unions.

The seven-point charter of demand of the protesting CTUs includes withdrawal of four labour codes, the three farm laws and the Electricity (Amendment) Ordnance, 2021, an income transfer scheme for poor that will offer Rs7,500 per month to every non income tax paying family.

They are also demanding universal free vaccination within a specific time frame, Rs5 million insurance to all frontline workers including ASHA, Anganwadi employees, sanitation workers and "adequate compensation to the families of the workers who died due to Covid 19."

While anti privatisation of PSUs continues to be in their demand as they believe will take away income and jobs, the 10 unions also said that government and PSU employees who are working uninterrupted despite covid outbreak including employees in railways and road transport, coal, defence, SAIL, BHEL, telecom and postal service's, banks and insurance, electricity, water, education and health services, EPFO, ports and docks etc “be treated as frontline staff and compensate accordingly."

The trade unions said the jobs environment has been painful for quite some time and the situation became worse during the second wave and government must act to spur employment generation. According to Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), India’s national unemployment rate had reached a record high of 23.52% in April 2020 during the strict lockdown. It improved to 6.52% in January 2021, in line with an economic recovery. But the second wave delivered another hit to the jobs market in April and May.

The two months, which were the biggest witness to the ferocity of the second wave of the pandemic, saw about 23 million job losses - both salaried and non-salaried. As of 13 June, the unemployment rate in urban India was 9.7% and at national level it was 8.7%, which is still very high. As per CMIE, a 7.97% unemployment rate in April erased some 7.35 million jobs, including 3.4 million salaried jobs.

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