RSS-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh protests against changes to labour laws, petitions President
The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the labour arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), on Wednesday organised a nationwide protest against what it called was the “black ordinance brought by the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat” and the “unilateral” changes in labour laws by 11 other states.
Workers associated with the BMS held a demonstration and submitted a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind, urging him to put a halt to the changes announced by the states.
The protests were carried out in small groups with the members maintaining social distancing norms, the BMS said.
“The protest is against-not making proper facilities for migrant labourers; non payment of wages for the lockdown period; irregularities in providing Covid-19 benefits; not making travel arrangement for migrant labourers to return to their home states; increasing working hours from 8-12 hours and unbridled privatisation,” BMS general secretary Vrijesh Upadhaya said.
The BMS has also criticised several state governments, including the BJP-ruled Gujarat for failing to address the concerns of the migrant workers, pointing out that while the union government has issued directive to all states to provide transport facilities, workers are continuing to walk back home.
Among those who participated in the demonstrations were the uranium mine workers in Jaduguda (Jharkhand); copper mine workers of Malajkhand (MP), workers in the coal belt, marine fish workers of Kerala, migrant workers in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal, Odisha, Electricity employees of Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, NHM workers of Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Beedi workers of Telangana, industrial workers of Rajasthan, Punjab, MP, Jharkhand and Delhi and several PSU workers.
Trade unions allied to the Congress and Left parties and other non-affiliated organisations have also called a nationwide hunger strike on May 22 to protest against the dilution of labour laws.
Unions such as the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), a frontal organisation of the Congress, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), which is affiliated to the Communist Party of India-Marxist(CPI-M), the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) have joined hands against the move by state governments to amend laws.