From our readers: Workers resist attacks on their livelihood

Sir,

I was very happy to read the article entitled `In the midst of the Lockdown:

Workers across the country resist the attacks on their livelihood and rights’ posted on the June 1-15, 2020 online version of MEL.

A grave situation is being faced by the hundreds of millions across the length and breadth of the country.  In the midst of this lockdown the bourgeoisie has mounted a ferocious attack on the working people and on the masses.  However, it was heartening to read that there has been significant resistance in the working class in face of great difficulties.

In particular it may be noted that:

* in Uttar Pradesh there has been agitation against the abolition of allowances under the pretext of austerity measured needed during the coronavirus pandemic, which would affect lakhs of state government employees.  This is further compounded by the suspension of increase in dearness allowance for a year and half, as with Central Government employees.  Two Unions have threatened agitation unless there is a rollback of these.

* that in Pune sanitation workers have won the struggle for payment of pending wages.

On the other hand, things are looking grim for instance with,

* Zomato announcing lay-offs and salary cut in view of prolonged lockdown and collapse of business,

* retrenching of contract workers of BSNL, which have been opposed by two Unions including the BSNL Employees Union, despite BSNL being a PSU,

* the All Indian Motor Transport Congress has sought relief for its members, as well as insurance cover and relief package for Covid-19, and redressal for harassment by local administration,

* the condition of workers from Bihar, West Bengal, UP, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand working in IIT Hyderabad as construction work for the expansion resulted in a clash with the management and eventual transport arrangements, with frequent clashes also with police and authorities,

* that teaching staff in Karnataka colleges have remained unpaid, as well as non-teaching staff, with the spectre of lay-offs looming large,

* that nurses in TN who are in the frontline in the fight against Covid-19 are demanding parity in pay, no cuts and wage freezes,

and the Government Hospitals Union has demanded parity in pay for contract and permanent staff,

* that several Unions of Defence workers’ unions oppose corporatization and have vehemently opposed the plans of the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Thus, in the middle of this crisis, it is important for the working class to retain its bearings and keep its focus on its revolutionary role. The present crisis also provides a testing time for everyone under attack and it is a time to forge unity and support all the ongoing struggles.  This article carries the spirit mentioned above and I commend you for carrying the article.

Sincerely,

A. Narayan

Bangalore