Bharat Bandh today against government's "anti-labor" policies: All details here
More than 25 crore workers will participate in a strike today, called by 10 central unions, to raise a voice against the "anti-labor" policies of the government. The industrial, transport, and banking sectors are expected to be hit. The workers who would go on strike include scheme, domestic, construction, beedi workers as well as hawkers, vendors, and agricultural workers. Here are more details.
The unions participating in the bandh are — Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC), Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), and United Trade Union Congress (UTUC).
Besides the aforementioned unions, other associations, like All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA), and Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), are also participating in the strike. The bandh also has the support of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), the umbrella organization nestling nearly 250 farmers' organizations. BJP-loyal Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) distanced itself from the bandh.
Revealing why the trade unions are livid with the Centre, AIBEA said that in the recently-concluded monsoon session of Parliament, three new labor enactments were passed, bulldozing the 27 existing ones, in the "name of Ease of Doing Business." AIBEA said the enactments are meant to only help corporates, and in this bid, nearly 75% of workers were being devoid of any legal protection.
Notably, barring SBI and Indian Overseas Bank, AIBEA represents all majority banks. Hinting at the repercussions, Bank of Maharashtra said in a filing, "If strike materialises, the normal functioning of the bank branches and offices is likely to be affected. The bank is taking all necessary steps to minimize the impact of strike so as to provide the normal banking services to its customers."
The unions want the Centre to give Rs. 7,500 per month to all non-income-tax paying families and also 10 kg free ration for every month to needy persons. They also want an expansion of the rural employment scheme — MGNREGA — to provide 200 days of work per year to beneficiaries. Further, they want all anti-farmer laws and anti-worker schemes to be revoked.
The unions also want the "draconian circular on forced premature retirement of government and PSU employees" to be withdrawn. They want NPS to be scrapped and are seeking the restoration of the earlier pension scheme. The unions also want improvement in EPS-95 (Employees' Pension Scheme-1995), which is handled by EPFO. A demand to stop privatization of the public sector has also been put forth.