All India Trade Union Congress, CITU, Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), SEWA and LPF have called for the two-day general nationwide strike on Jan 8 and 9, 2019 to protest against the anti-worker and anti-trade union policies of the Narendra Modi government.
In Pune I picked up this booklet published by the Joint Action Committee of Trade Unions. It is authored by Ajit Abhyankar, who is a well-known leader, he is a CITU activist and a professor. The 25-page booklet covers the issues which trade unions are fighting for.
There are twelve demands. Abolishing contract labour and NEEM, raising minimum wages to Rs 18,000 pm, providing social security and removing many anti worker policies and laws are at the core of the demands.
A study was carried out by Option Positive which shows that the ratio of permanent workers to others [mainly those engaged on contract, NEEM earn and learn etc] is 27: 73. This is indeed shocking.
The study also shows that among ‘contingent’ staff – that is those falling in the ‘73’ category above, [they number 1,06,717], twenty-one percent  have been so working for more than seven years. Seven years work without any social security! In the same way 35% of those among contingent staff  have been so working for more than five years but less than seven years.
The average wage of permanent staff is Rs 38270, and the average wage of contingent staff is less than Rs 10,000/-. A difference exceeding Rs 28000!
The situation is bad certainly. On the last occasion the unions resorted to nation wide strike which did not have much impact. It appears that the story will be different this year, emotions are running high. And let us hope we will move towards finding a solution.
Vivek S Patwardhan
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”