Shrinking avenues for employment, no job and social security for contractual employees and declining domestic production are some of the issues that the labour arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will raise with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the upcoming Indian Labour Conference (ILC) in June.
In the backdrop of reported job cuts by IT industry majors and a sluggish economy, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), claiming to have a membership of almost 1 crore across states and more than 5,000 affiliate unions-- wants the BJP-led NDA government to revisit its economic policies so that more jobs are added and entrepreneurship gets a fillip.
The ILC is a tripartite consultative committee in the ministry of labour and employment to advise the government on issues related to the working class. Twelve central trade unions, central organisations of employers, all state governments and central ministries concerned with the agenda items are its members.
The Sangh offshoot, which has in the past criticised demonetisation for the adverse impact it had on small and medium scale sectors and praised the Centre for opening crucial sectors such as defence, civil aviation and food processing to foreign direct investment, wants the government to focus more on agro-based economy rather than make industrialisation the axis of its economic agenda.
“We have been moving in the wrong direction, which is why we can see jobs cuts and negative growth in the economic sector. We need to focus on agro-based economy, on self-employment, on handholding the traditional sectors that add jobs,” Vrijesh Upadhyay, general secretary of the BMS told HT.
Social security for contractual workers, job security for women, especially after the passage of the new maternity bill and the proposed labour law reforms will be on the BMS’ agenda for the ILC.
It wants the government to comply with its own directives on fixing minimum wages and employment rules. “Forget the private sector, even government departments and public sector units employ contractual workers. The minimum wage formula that was passed at the 15th ILC and upheld by the Supreme Court is being selectively used,” Upadhyay said.
The BMS also wants the government to ensure that the new maternity law that allows women to take paid leave for 26 weeks does not become a deterrent for companies to hire women.
“Only seven percent of the total workforce has some kind of social security, the trend is to hire contractual workers who left to fend for themselves. And the proposed reforms in the labour laws will make it harder for the workers to form unions or demand protection of their rights,” he said.
BMS has objections to the proposed amendments that fix a time frame for workers to report cases of industrial disputes and the new rules for formation on unions.