Wednesday 31 August 2016

7th Pay Commission: NJCA to pitch for 3.68 fitment factor to revise minimum pay in meeting with National Anomaly Committee

7th Pay Commission: NJCA to pitch for 3.68 fitment factor to revise minimum pay in meeting with National Anomaly Committee

The National Anomaly Committee will meet leaders of central government employees unions including National Joint Council of Action (NJCA), who have demanded hiking minimum pay Rs 18,000 to Rs 26,000 against the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission.

New Delhi, Aug 30: The National Anomaly Committee will meet leaders of central government employees unions including National Joint Council of Action (NJCA), who have demanded hiking minimum pay Rs 18,000 to Rs 26,000 against the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission. The National Anomaly Committee was formed to settle issues arising out of the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission recommendations. After reports that government would not be increasing the minimum salary which has been fixed as Rs 18,000, aggrieved central government employees pin their hope in the outcome of the meeting.

“The National Anomaly Committee has invited us for talks on September 1 in Delhi ahead of proposed nationwide general strike on 2 September and we have agreed to participate in the talks,” NJCA convener Shiv Gopal Mishra was quoted as saying by the Sen Times. The NJAC has demanded for hiking minimum pay Rs 18,000 to Rs 26,000. Along with increase in minimum pay, the NJAC also wants government use 3.68 fitment factor, instead of 2.57 in calculating the minimum salary. If the National Anomaly Committee accepts demands of NJAC, the salary and pension of central government employees will go up.

Though Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley promised to consider to hike the minimum pay, a day after the cabinet cleared 7th Pay Commission recommendations, central government employees were unhappy after reports surfaced claiming that they are not going to get more than minimum pay of Rs 18,000 as the public sector workers have also demanded minimum pay of Rs 18,000 which will bring extra burden on government. Sources in Finance Ministry also said that there is no scope to change in minimum pay Rs 18,000.

Read at:

Brief of the meeting held today between the Government of India and the National Council JCM Staff Side

Brief of the meeting held today between the Government of India and the National Council JCM Staff Side

Shiva Gopal Mishra
National council (staff Side)
Joint Consulative Machinery for Central Government Employees
13-C, Ferozshah Road, New Delhi-110001
E-Mail :

Dated: August 30, 2016
All Constituents of National Council(JCM)
Dear Comrades!

Sub: Brief of the meeting held today between the Government of India and the National Council (JCM) (Staff Side)

The Government of India has constituted a committee, under the Chairmanship of Addl. Secretary(Exp.) with J.S.(Pers.), JS(Estt.) and JS(Imp.) as members, to deal with the pending issues of our memorandum, submitted to the Empowered Committee, of which prominent are “Minimum Wage and Multiplying Factor”.

The first meeting of the said committee with the National Council(JCM) Staff Side was held today, i.e. 30th August, 2016, which remained almost introductory. Apart from the Official Side members, Shri M. Raghaviah, Shri M.S. Raja and I myself(from the Staff Side JCM) attended the said meeting.

We raised vehemently the issues of “Minimum Wage and Multiplying Formula” and made them very clear that; the VII CPC has accepted Dr. Aykroyd Formula for fixing Minimum Wage, but has not implemented the said formula in full sense, so, that is not acceptable to the Staff Side(JCM), therefore, Minimum Wage from Rs.18000 must be enhanced and accordingly Fitment Formula should also be changed.

It was agreed by the committee that, since we are again meeting on 1st September, 2016 with the Committee on Allowances, the next meeting of the said committee will be fixed in consultation with the Staff Side(JCM).

Thereafter, we also met the Cabinet Secretary(Government of India) and there also we shown our anguish about the inordinate delay in resolving those issues which were agreed to. The Cabinet Secretary said that, orders for the gratuity have been issued for the NPS covered employees, and orders for the PLB and arrears have also been issued. Many of the issues raised by the Staff Side(JCM) have been accepted and implemented and the remaining issues would also be pursued and settled.

Comradely yours,
(Shiva Gopal Mishra)
Secretary (staff side)
NC/JCM & Convener


Trade union strike on Sept 2:

Narendra Modi govt faces biggest strike since coming to power

New Delhi |  August 30, 2016:
women in garment industry A fixed minimum wage between Rs 15,000 and Rs 18,000 per month has been on top of the CTUs’ 12-point charter of demands. (Reuters)

The government’s effort to dissuade 10 central trade unions (CTUs) from going ahead with the September 2 strike did not succeed on Monday as the minimum wage advisory board (MWAB) meeting remained inconclusive.

A fixed minimum wage between Rs 15,000 and Rs 18,000 per month has been on top of the CTUs’ 12-point charter of demands. A positive outcome of the MWAB meeting, which was preponed from the earlier scheduled on September 6, could have saved the government from the embarrassing labour stir.

With the meeting failing to reach a consensus, RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), which unlike 10 other CTUs is yet to give their strike call, may also join the stir. This would make it the biggest-ever labour strike since the new government under Narendra Modi assumed office in May, 2014.

Talking to FE earlier in the day, BMS general secretary Virjesh Upadhyay said the trade union would take part in the strike if the government gives orders and not just written assurances on majority of their 12-point charter of demands that includes a minimum wage of Rs 15,000 per month.

At its three-day Kendriya Karya Samiti (KKS) meeting in Bhopal earlier this month, BMS had resolved to declare the strike on September 2, but left the onus of taking the final call on its president B N Rai and Upadhyay.

Currently, minimum wage for an unskilled worker in the central sector is Rs 211 per day or Rs 5,486 a month.

FE had earlier reported that the government has proposed a steep 60-95% hike in the minimum wages for its contract/temporary workers in 45 scheduled employment categories, ranging from agriculture to construction and mining, to Rs 9,150 per month. The minimum wage in a state is fixed by the state only.

AITUC national secretary D L Sachdeva, who attended the MWAB meeting, said the unions demanded that there should be uniformity in the minimum wage across the country for all workers — be it domestic help or the industry worker, and the amount should not be less than the monthly starting pay of Rs 18,000 for the central government staff as per the 7th Pay Commission.

“We have demanded that a national minimum wage should be fixed below which no state will fix the minimum wages. Developed states can fix higher wages than the national minimum wage. The strike call stands,” he added.

Another official who was present during the meeting, said employers’ representatives also agreed to the idea that the minimum wages should be hiked, but there was resistance from their side on making it as high as Rs 15,000 since that will cost them dearly.

A government official said on the condition of anonymity that the central government does not have the legislative power to fix the minimum wage for a state since labour is in the concurrent list. The proposed monthly minimum wage of Rs 9,150 for an unskilled farm worker in Class C areas (as against Rs 211 now) has been arrived at after taking into account his four-member family’s energy need for 2,700 k cal a day as well as clothes, fuel, power, educational, medical and rental expenses, the official added.

Meanwhile, though CTUs ruled out postponing the strike, they were expecting some favourable outcome from the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya late on Monday.

Source :


Go Ahead  ! 

Organise the 2nd Septermber Strike in full swing  !!

More than 20 Crores of Workers will participate in the Strike. No change in Strike Decision.Please do not believe rumours. Make all efforts to ensure 100%  participation of Central Government Employees. 

- M.Krishnan 
Secretary General 
Confederation - 

Monday 29 August 2016

Dear Comrades,
                        Please Preparation and Mobilization  do Vegoresly to Success the 2nd September One Day General Strike Central Govt is trying to Disturb the Mentality of fighting Sprite of our Militant  Comrades by issuing DCRG/Gratute to NPS Fill up Vacant Post, Traditional Pension to all .Social Security to all ,Control Market Price etc,
                                                                                  Com  Debabrata Mohanty
                                                                        Circle secretary  Cum  Convenor NFPE Odisha

  All but BMS reject appeal to call off Sept.2 strike

Written By Admin,PoTools on Aug 29, 2016 | 5:24 PM
All the central trade unions (CTUs), barring the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) on Saturday evening categorically rejected the appeal made on Friday by the Union Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya to call off the scheduled September 2 all-India general strike.

Responding to an e-mail sent by the Minister to the trade unions, which lists the ‘proactive steps’ taken by the government to address the unions’ charter of demands, AITUC General Secretary Gurudas Das Gupta told The Hindu, “The Minister’s letter and the status report on our charter of demands is a repetition of old arguments. Nothing tangible has been offered, so our decision to strike stands.”

An isolated BMS, which has had two rounds of talks with the Group of Ministers led by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, is waiting to hear formally from the government before taking a view on the strike.

Virjesh Upadhyay, BMS’ General Secretary told The Hindu, “Yes, I have heard of the Minister’s letter. We do not appreciate the approach of the Centre. Having said that, I want to state that we observed a certain advancement in the position of the government on our demands on issues related to anganwadi workers, bonus, and minimum wages. So, we would wait for a formal word from the government on commitments made to us. Otherwise, we would be compelled to take action.”

The AITUC leader’s letter to the Minister argues that for over a year, the GoM had not convened a single meeting with any central trade union barring one [the BMS].

The letter adds: “The government is going ahead with pro-employer labour law amendments through executive orders or otherwise, and giving assent to the anti-worker amendments moved by some state governments.”

Similar one last year
CTUs had observed a similar strike on September 2 last year on a broad chapter of 12 demands in protest against what they had termed as the “anti-people” policies of the Narendra Modi government. The BMS, which had initially agreed to the strike call, backed off in the last minute.

Unions of central government employees, who have their own grievances related to the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission, are also mulling over the possibility of extending support to the strike.

Last week, university and college teachers’ unions backed the strike. Support to the strike from so many sections could make it one of the biggest in recent memory.

Among the demands of the trade unions are strict enforcement of all basic labour laws, minimum wages of not less than Rs. 15,000 per month with provisions of indexation, assured enhanced pension of not less than Rs. 3,000 per month, stoppage of disinvestment in central/state PSUs, the end of contracting permanent perennial work, and the payment of same wages.

Source :

Confederation of Central Government Employees will go on one-day Strike om 2nd September 2016

Workers Strike Back; 2nd September Strike Demands Explained

On 2 September 2016, crores of workers across the country will go on strike demanding an end to the all-round attack launched by the government against their lives, livelihood and dignity. Representing the interests of the big capitalists, both domestic and foreign, the Modi government has been trying to fool the working people with false promises even as it supports and actively imposes a policy that is snatching away jobs, looting family budgets, disarming workers of their rights and opening the doors to harsher exploitation. Last year’s all India strike saw an incredible 15 crore workers go on strike. This strike on 2 September is bound to surpass that, telling the government and the ruling class that it is not going to back down. Here is a brief explainer of the workers’ demands:

 Urgent measures for containing price-rise through universalisation of public distribution system and banning speculative trade in commodity market

Prices of several essential commodities have steadily risen for the past two years. In some cases, like pulses, the rise has been as high as over 100%. Then, there are periodic spikes in some commodities like onions or potatoes. Net result is that working people’s family budgets have been devastated and they are having to cut down on nutritious food just to survive. Already, over 56% of women in the country and a similar share of children are anemic. The food security act passed in 2013 is yet to be rolled out fully. The Act is itself limited, providing affordable food grains to just two thirds of the country, and not having provision for increasing population. It does not cover many essential commodities. If more commodities, like pulses and oil are included and its coverage is increased to all the people, it will provide much needed food to malnourished families. This will also finish off hoarding and speculative trading which drives up prices. But the government is refusing to pay attention to hungry people across the country and continues to provide concessions to big traders and food companies.

 Containing unemployment through concrete measures for employment generation

According to government estimates, about 1.2 crore Indians join the labour force every year in India. There are already over 10 crore people unemployed and crores more who are called ‘employed’ but are forced to work in very low paying jobs – a hidden kind of unemployment. Women’s employment has hit rock bottom with just 27% women over 15 years of age working – one of the lowest in the world. The situation is explosive but the government is groping about, unable or unwilling to address the tide of joblessness. Its fancy schemes like ‘Make in India’ or ‘Skill India’ or industrial corridors are just pies in the sky, giving profits to industrialists but nothing for the workers. On top of this, govt. policies of privatization and contractualisation are creating more unemployment. Those who have jobs today face an uncertain future while the youth, among whom 25% are unemployed, are hopeless and angry.

 Minimum wages of not less than Rs 18,000 per month with provisions of indexation

Minimum wage rates fixed by state governments are cruelly low in shameless violation of well-settled principles and Supreme Court orders. According to calculations done by experts, for a worker’s family having three members, the minimum amount required for their food, shelter, clothing etc. is about Rs.20,000. This takes into account the principle set down by the Indian Labour Conference of 1957 and those laid down by the Supreme Court in 1992. Last year, the central government had suggested Rs.6098 as minimum wage, without any basis. Their real consideration was and still remains only one – profits of employers should not suffer, so keep the wages as low as possible. The trade union movement has adjusted its demand to Rs.18,000 instead of Rs.20,000 in order to make it more feasible. But the government is refusing to listen. With the way prices are rising, and with the public distribution system not meeting the needs inflation robs working people relentlessly. Hence a minimum wage linked to prices is of utmost importance to crores of workers across the country.

 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

One of the surest ways for industrialists to depress wages, deny various benefits to workers and prevent them for organizing is the contract system that has spread across all sectors. Even in public sector enterprises 22% of the employees/workers are on contract. In private enterprises the situation is worse. Although clear laws exist that workers doing perennial nature of work should not be on contract and that contract workers need to be given the same pay and benefits as regular workers, employers have taken advantage of the govt.’s complicity and court’s indifference to flout these laws. As a result contract workers are to be found working at less wages and for more hours. This also destroys the unity of workers and weakens their striking power. All kinds of contractual labour needs to be ended and a united fight by regular and contract workers for regularization of contract workers has to be launched.

 Strict enforcement of all basic labour laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws.
 Against Labour Law Amendments

Labour laws provide some protection to workers and ensure that they can survive under conditions of harsh exploitation. Laws on minimum wages, working hours, job security, medical support, provident fund, maternity benefits, etc. were won by struggles of workers decades ago. But it has always been a dream of capitalists to do away with these laws so that they can suck the last drop of profit from the workers’ labour. Modi government appears to have promised them to make this dream a reality. In many BJP ruled states wholesale changes have been made in labour laws so that employers can hire and fire workers at will and allow changes in service conditions. And, the central govt. is ready with new laws that will dilute existing ones. Already the labour laws enforcement mechanism had been destroyed by previous governments leaving the workers at the mercy of ruthless and greedy industrialists. Now this is being further ground down. Unless the workers step up and fight for their legal rights, they will even snatch away the right to form trade unions. , 80-90% of workers never get wages equal to them.

 Universal social security cover for all workers
 Assured enhanced pension not less than Rs.3,000 p.m. for the entire working population

Social security means ensuring that workers and their families get financial support for illness and for times when they are unable to work after a certain age. This is not some charity or goodwill gesture on the part of employers. It is a right of workers who spend their lives laboring away so that the employers’ earn their profits. But the government, far from acknowledging this universal right is conspiring to dismantle even the existing laws which cover only a fraction of India’s workforce. While refusing to extend ESI and EPF coverage to lakhs of workers in the unorganized sector, it has recently made several attempts to impose ceilings, use accumulated PF monies for investing in volatile stock market speculation, prevent workers from withdrawing from PF etc. It is also committed to converting the whole concept of social security into a profit making enterprise by trying to impose an insurance model (worker pays premium to private company) with no contribution from govt. Its proposal for such a macabre scheme for anganwadi workers/helpers with a premium as high as Rs.250 was defeated recently. 

 Removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund; increase the quantum of gratuity.

Bonus is a small share of the profit that an employer makes from the labour of the workers. Suppose an industrialist makes 40% profit in one year. So, why should the share of workers’ bonus be limited to say 8.33% only? If there is no limit to profit there should not be any limit to the bonus share that a worker gets. Again, this is not some charity being asked for from the employers. It is a just and rightful share that the workers are asking. In fact bonus is actually considered a ‘deferred wage’ by the courts. This means that it is like wages except that it is being paid once at the end of the year. A similar logic applies to gratuity which is a rightful recognition of the years of service put in by the worker during which the employer had surely earned huge profits from the workers’ labour. So, when the worker retires or quits after many laboring years, should he or she not get a share of the wealth created by labour? The government of course is enslaved by the capitalist class and so it is callous to this logic. It only searches for ways to cut down on labour costs by depressing wages, cutting down on various entitlements like bonus and gratuity and snatching away social security rights.

 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

The only way governments listen to workers is when they fight back the attacks. And, the only way workers can effectively fight back is when they are organized around a fighting banner. The government and the capitalist class knows this very well. That is why they are trying their utmost to dismantle the workers’ right to organize and fight. Already many changes had been made by previous governments in the Trade Unions Act which make it difficult for workers to register their trade unions or get recognition from managements. The present government, with its naked hostility to the working class is planning to further restrict this right. This attack is not confined to the government alone. The judiciary and bureaucracy, as well as dominant media and intellectual apologists for the bourgeoisie continue to abuse workers if they so much as stir one finger to get justice. Against this all round attack, workers have to strike back forcefully and retrieve their rights.

 Stoppage of disinvestment in Central/State PSUs
 Against FDI in Railways, Insurance and Defence

The public sector employs over workers in India. It controls many crucial and strategic sectors of the economy, providing a bulwark against private loot. But since the adoption of neo-liberal policies in the country there has been a systematic attempt to privatize the public sector and invite foreign capital in some parts of industry. The purpose of this vile conspiracy is to use national assets to fill the coffers of domestic and foreign companies. The present government is going about this greedily and with haste. It has set a target of raising Rs.56,000 crore from the sale of such profit making PSUs as BHEL, IOC, ONGC, HPCL, BPCL and few others. What will be the result of this? Firstly, the sale is being done at very low prices to ensure that private capitalists gain and the country loses. For example SAIL’s value is estimated at about Rs.5 lakh crore. But by pegging its share value at Rs.200, it could be sold for just Rs.82,600 crore! That’s less than one-fifth the price. But there is a more important aspect. Privatisation, especially if foreign ownership means that the country’s resources will be used for private profit not for the people’s good. Also, it will mean an open attack on the employed workers who will either get thrown out or converted to contract labour. Inviting foreign direct investment in such key sectors as defence and railways means that the country’s backbone will be handed over to foreign interests, who will no longer care for either the country’s sovereignty or for its workers.

Grant of Productivity Linked Bonus (PLB) and non-Productivity Linked Bonus (Ad-hoc bonus) in case of Central Government employees for the accounting year 2014-15- enhancement of the calculation ceiling- Regarding

Source :


             Confederation of central Govt Employees & Workers have been continuously fighting against pension reforms implemented by Govt in tune with the neo-liberal policies and demanding SCRAPPING OF THE NEW PENSION SYSTEM (NPS). Further we have been demanding that those employees who are covered by NPS should be eligible for payment of Death cum Retirement Gratuity (DCRG) and Family Pension and also Govt guaranteed Minimum Pension and Compensation for price rise (Dearness Relief). Now the Govt has conceded one of our demand. Govt of India has issued orders to extend the benefit of Gratuity to all NPS Employees. Further the Cabinet has decided to constitute a committee for streamlining the implementation of NPS. We shall present the remaining issues before that Committee also. Scrapping of NPS is one of the main demand of 2016 September 2nd General Strike also. No struggle will go in vain. Let us make the strike a grand success

Secretary General

No. 7/5/2012-P&PW(F)/B
Ministry of Personnel, Public (Grievances and Pensions
Department of Pension and Pensioners Welfare

Lok Nayak Bhawan, Khan Market,
New Delhi-110 003, Dated the 26th August, 2016


Subject: Extension of benefit of Retirement Gratuity and Death Gratuity to the Central Government Employees covered by new Defined Contribution Pension System (National Pension System) – regarding.

            The undersigned  is directed  to say that the pension of the Government  servants appointed on or  after 1.1.2004 is regulated  by the new Defined Contribution  Pension System (known as National Pension System), notified by the Ministry of Finance (Department of Economic Affairs) vide their O.M. No. 5/7/2003-ECB & PR dated 22.12.2003. Orders were issued for payment  of gratuity on provisional  basis in respect of  employees covered under  National Pension System on their  retirement  from  Government  service on invalidation or death in service, vide this Department’s O.M. No. 38/41/2006-P&PW(A) dated 5.5.2009.

2.         The issue of grant of gratuity in respect of government employees covered by the National Pension System has been under consideration of the Government. It has been decided that the government  employees covered by National Pension System shall be  eligible for benefit of ‘Retirement  gratuity  and  Death  gratuity’ on the same  terms and  conditions, as are applicable  to employees covered by  Central Civil Service (Pension) Rulke,1972.

3.         These orders issue with the concurrence of Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, vide their .D. Note No. 1(4)/EV/2006-II dated 29.07.2016.

4.         In their application to the persons belonging to the India Audit and Accounts Department, these orders issue after consultation with Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

5.         These orders will be applicable to those Central Civil Government Employees who joined Government Service on or after 1.1.2004 and are covered by National Pension System and will take effect from the same date i.e. 1.1.2004. 
(Harjit Singh)
Director (Pension Policy)

Extension of benefits of (Retirement Gratuity and Death Gratuity) to the Central Government employees covered by new Defined Contribution Pension System (National Pension System)-regarding  (Click the link below to view original order)


Working Class Resistance in 25 Years of
Neo-Liberal Reforms

            THE working class is a prime target of attack under the neo-liberal regime in the country.From the initial days of the policy pronouncements in 1991, ruling class and policy makers have been targeting the working people and their hard earned rights.
            Even while discussing about more investments, industrialisation, creation of employment opportunities, those in the authority could only identify rigidity and multiplicity of labour laws along with the `mushrooming’ of trade unions as hurdles. Along with this were the slogans of `flexibility’ and `downsizing’ which were presented as the way out of the crisis engulfing the country.

            The experience of the Indian working class, during the last 25 years, confirms the apprehensions expressed by the trade unions in the country, though at that time they were not a united voice.  Only those of the Left spectrum had an understanding  of the catastrophe that would happen if these policies were implemented.

            The efforts for implementation of the `reforms’ had begun in 1991 itself.  The labour laws in the country, product of the long drawn battles of the working people, were targeted.  This included the right to form a union of the workers’ choice.  The Trade Union Act in the country was enacted in 1926.  It is also a fact that despite this legislation being enacted during the British regime, the republic of India could not even to-day guarantee the right to collective bargaining for the workers, by making  it mandatory at the  national level for the employers  to recognise a trade union.

            The implementation of the ‘reforms’, as far as the labour laws were concerned had various components like non-implementation of existing laws; dismantling of the enforcement machinery of the government and new amendments to the existing laws against  the interests of workers. But, the resistance movements including the massive strikes and also the overall political situation in the country and the coalition governments at the centre with the major party not having majority of its own were hurdles to these efforts.

            While the attacks on the democratic and trade union rights have been continuing for the last 25 years, major amendments could not be passed. The right to form unions was denied almost fully in the new Industries in various parts of the country.  Not only the multinational companies, but the Indian corporates who had to recognise this right in their establishments earlier, started emulating the MNCs.

            In this situation, the employers could easily get rid of the job security of workers.  Casualisation and contractorisation of regular jobs became the rule.  Extreme cases of not having a single regular worker in factories which went on production schedules for years came to light when workers came out to form unions to fight the exploitation.

            The result of this was that more than 60 percent of the work force in the organised sector is denied even statutory minimum wages and social security benefits like ESI and EPF.  More than 50 percent of workers in the public sector and around 70 percent in private sector are contract workers.  These workers under different nomenclature are employed in permanent, perennial and continuous jobs in total violation of Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act and other labour laws.  12 hours work has become the order of the day in many establishments.

            Another aspect of this is that the share of wages in industrial sector has been continuously declining from around 30 percent in 1982-83 to 12.9 percent in 2012-13.  This has been falling further while the share of profits increased from around 20 percent to 50 percent during the above said period.
The situation from 1991 continued upto 2013 in the same trajectory, though under different regimes.  The situation has changed for the worse with the NDA government under Narendra Modi coming to power after the general elections in 2014. The Modi government is moving aggressively, creating a devastating impact on the lives and livelihood of the working people of the country.

            With the employment opportunities receding, the exploitation has increased manifold.  Working people in all the sectors – organised, unorganised, public, private – are facing a critical situation.  Along with them are those working in the governmental schemes categorised as volunteers who are paid only an honorarium, and who number more than ten millions.

            A series of amendments have been proposed by the government of India during the last 26 months.  While the government has announced its decision to convert 44 Labour laws into five labour codes, removing all the rights and protection clauses for labour, the drafts of Wage Code Bill and Industrial Relation Code are ready to be introduced in parliament.  The Factories Amendments Bill is already in parliament and the government has rejected all the recommendations of the standing committee and is going ahead with more retrograde amendments.  Simultaneously a new Bill – Small Factories Bill – is being readied.  The net result of these two Bills related to factories is that more than 75 percent of the factory workers will go out of coverage of the Factories Act and also 14 other basic labour laws including Minimum Wages Act, Maternity Act, ESI and EPF Acts.

            In total, in the name of ending inspection raj the enforcement machinery has been dismantled, the basic right to form a union of workers choice is being denied and all the existing labour laws are being amended to deprive workers even the minimum guarantee, which existed earlier. The net result is that of increasing the exploitation of workers and converting them literally to bonded labour.

            Not only the central government, but many of the state governments, especially those under the BJP have gone ahead and amended the labour laws, mainly on the lines of the central government's proposals. In fact, with the Rajasthan government taking the lead in enacting the anti-worker amendments, the Prime Ministers Office had written to all the state governments to follow the Rajasthan government.

            The working people in the country have been organising resistance against these policies from 1991 itself.  Despite large-scale victimisation, threats of outright dismissals, physical attacks by police and goondas for making efforts to form unions, there have been powerful fight backs in almost all the major industrial centres in the country.  These have happened even without formal unions being formed and sometimes resulting even in violence at work places. There have been strikes and struggles mainly related to these basic policy related issues at unit, sectoral and state levels, in addition to the country wide general strikes.

            It is to the credit of the organised trade union movement in the country, that the Central Trade Unions and National Federations have been on a joint platform to struggle against these neo-liberal policies.  The charter of demands included not only the work related issues, but demands of all sections of people.  Though from 1991 it was the Left unions – Central Trade Unions and also National Federations – which went on campaigns and struggles, total unity of Central Trade Unions and National Federations could be achieved from September 2009.  A common charter of demands, which was developed into a 10 point charter and later to a 12 point charter were submitted to the government of India.  None of the governments at the Centre took up these demands for serious consideration.

            From 1991, there were 16 countrywide general strikes of 17 days in total.  In the sixteenth general strike on September 2, 2015 the BMS withdrew at the last minute, saying that the government should be given time to implement their assurances. All others went ahead with the strike in which 15 crores of workers and employees had participated.  It is to be noted that 40 percent of those who had participated in the strike were not members of any union.  This could be achieved because of the widespread anger among the workers, especially among sections like road transport workers and workers in the industrial clusters in many states.

After the strike on September 2, 2015, the Modi government has speeded up the `reforms’ in many sectors.  The latest was to announce the `fixed term employment’, which the Vajpayee government had introduced and the Left parties and TUs had forced the UPA government to drop. Fixed term employment will result in the end of job security of workers, resulting in a situation of hire and fire with a legal sanction.

            It is in such a situation that the Central Trade Unions and National Federations are preparing for the seventeenth country wide strike in the 25th year of neo-liberalism, on September 2, 2016.

            It is a fact that the trade unions still have a long way to go in reaching out to all sections of working people.  But the local, sectoral and national level struggles in India against neo-liberal policies are an important component of the world wide struggle of the working people against the offensive of the capitalist class.

A K Padmanabhan
  President, CITU