Confront attacks on workers’ rights

Workers paid the price of the lockdown

The lockdown was expected to be utilised to strengthen health infrastructure. But instead of creating a scientific understanding of the coronavirus, the BJP government and the ruling party sought to spread unscientific myths in tackling the health crisis. Even today, pujas and hawans are being held in many places to please ‘Corona mai’.

Neoliberal agenda pushed during the pandemic

The other, even more appalling aspect is its project of choosing the lockdown period to fast-track its neoliberal agenda of anti-worker labour law amendments, privatisation of the entire public sector and handing over the country’s natural resources to the private sector, both domestic and foreign. The Labour Secretary wrote to all state governments directing them to consider increasing working hours to 12 a day, to increase the threshold number for retrenchment and closure etc. under the Industrial Disputes Act to 300 from the present 100 etc. Several state governments went a step further to exempt employers from implementation of most labour laws. The BJP state government in Uttar Pradesh exempted 38 state labour laws, almost all, for 3 years; the Madhya Pradesh government exempted them for 1000 days; the Gujarat government for 1200 days. The Haryana government announced exemption from labour laws for newly recruited workers. 13 state governments in the country increased working hours from 8 to 12. The threshold level for retrenchment and closure has been increased to 300 in several states.

The path to resistance

To suppress all voices of resistance and opposition, the BJP government is also resorting to autocratic measures. Anybody opposing its policies is being targeted and arrested. It is using the State machinery, the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate, the National Investigation Agency, etc. to threaten and intimidate them. Dalit rights activists, human rights activists, social activists who were active in the anti-CAA and anti-NPR protests — are being labelled ‘anti national’, ‘urban Naxals’, charged with sedition and put into prison.

The oppressed masses refuse to sell the country

It is a welcome development that the broad trade union movement and the united peasant movement have synchronised their calls for satyagraha/jail bharo etc. across the country on 9th August 2020. The trade union movement has given the call of ‘Save India’ with the slogan that the working class would not allow the country to be sold. The peasant movement has extended its solidarity and support to this call. At the same time both the movements have raised issues of immediate cash transfer, free distribution of food grains, work under MGNREGA and its extension to the urban areas etc. among other demands specific to their classes.

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All India IT and ITeS Employees’ Union

All India IT and ITeS Employees’ Union

AIITEU is a union for all employees/workers in the technology sector and all technology workers in other sectors.