“After the introduction of the New Economic Industrial Policy, public industries were privatized all over the country, the national wealth was looted by the big capital houses and the rights of the workers were attacked. Whichever party was in government, it curtailed the rights of the workers and worked to abolish the laws made in the interests of the workers.”
The above things were said by Dinkar Kapoor, President of UP Workers Front.
In the 20th convention of contract labour union at Renukoot, Sonbhadra, on 26th February, he said that the present government has eradicated all the labour laws and managed to get four anti-labour laws passed by the Parliament. This government is determined to increase the working hours from 8 to 12.
The Yogi government had even attempted to get the laws passed during the Corona pandemic. However it had to be withdrawn after the Union seeked reprieve in the High Court. In the present times, it is an imperative task for workers to establish their own independent political force to give a striking blow to the pro-corporate and anti-labour policies, of the capitalist political parties.
He aspired that the contract labour union would proceed in this direction.
Taking a proposal in the conference, the speakers said that the condition of contract labourers in Sonbhadra, the main industrial center of the state, was grave. On the basis of the law, they are forced to work for their whole life at one place, permanently.
Due to non-proviso of revised wages of labourers from 2019, they have been forced to work for very low wages. Women labourers are made to work for just Rs.200.
There are arrears of wages in projects like Anpara and Obra. Due to non-provision of safety equipment in industries, death of workers in accidents are a routine or everyday affair. Benefits like employment card, attendance card, pay slip, ESI, gratuity, bonus are also not being given to laborers in many industries.
In such a situation, instead of shattering their morale, the workers will have to unite to prevent the anti-labour actions. In the conference, Yuva Manch convenor Rajesh Sachan said that unemployment was escalating day by day, giving a mortal blow to the economic state.
After obtaining a degree in engineering, the youth is forced to work as a contract labourer being paid a very low scale of wages. Employment rights campaign is engulfing the whole country on the demand of establishing employment as a fundamental right, filling the vacant posts, giving unemployment allowance and giving a minimum wage of Rs 25000 to every labourer. Contract labourers should also join hands in this.
Expressing anguish over the current attack on democracy, the conference strongly condemned the notice issued by the police to popular Bhojpuri folk singer Neha Singh Rathore and demanded the government to withdraw it.
Kripashankar Panika was elected president and Tejdhari Gupta was elected minister in the conference. Apart from this, Tirath Raj Yadav, Joint Minister Mohan Prasad, Publicity Minister Sheikh Imtiaz, Treasurer Govind Prajapati and Office Secretary Antaral Kharwar and a 15-member executive were elected on the Vice President.
The conference was presided over by the councilors of Pipri, Mallar Devi, Tirath Yadav and Tej Dhari Gupta and coordinated by Kripa Shankar Panika. The conference was attended by Ravi Gupta, President of Electricity Employees Union, Pipri, Com. D’s leader Krishna Yadav, District President of Yuva Manch Ruby Singh Gond, Savita Gond, Dwarika Chandravanshi etc addressed.
Workers representatives from Anpara Obra Lanco, Hindalco, Grasim Chemical Plant, Grasim Cement, Coal Mining etc were present in the conference. Artists of Mandar Kala Manch and folk singer Muneshwar Panika presented their mass songs in the conference.
Positive to witness representatives of workers from a diverse range in the meet.
Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist who has covered mass movements around the country