Ten central trade unions – INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC – have issued a call to organise country-wide protest actions on July 3, opposing the attacks of the government on the rights of workers and working people, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
In a joint statement the trade unions have denounced the government for its failure to protect the interests of the millions of workers, particular in the informal sector, who have lost all means of livelihood. The government has also failed to provide rations and food to these workers. It has failed to provide safe and proper transport for the workers stranded in different parts of the country, without food or shelter or money, to return to their homes. The trade unions have demanded that the government take immediate steps to ensure livelihood and food security to these workers.
The statement denounces the attacks on government employees, workers in banking and insurance sector, railways, coal and numerous other sectors, in the form of wage freeze, retrenchment and stringent working conditions. It points out that workers across all sectors have lost their jobs in large numbers, or not been paid their wages for the past 3 months. Unemployment is at an all-time high.
The trade unions have condemned the efforts of the central government and many state governments to further attack the workers and step up their exploitation through changes in the labour laws and rights won by workers.
The statement criticizes the government for using the cover of the COVID-19 pandemic to further push its agenda in favour of the big Indian and foreign corporate houses, including disinvestment and privatization of public sector enterprises, allowing 100% FDI in strategic sectors and steps to facilitate greater plunder of our natural resources by Indian and foreign monopolies, all in the name of Atma Nirbhar Bharat.
The trade unions have supported the agitations of doctors, nurses and health workers, sanitation workers, ASHA, anganwadi and mid-day meal workers, who have been front-line fighters in the battle against COVID-19, for adequate and proper protective gear and better working conditions.
The statement exposes the reality of the so-called 20 lakh crore package of the Government, as mainly loan guarantees to various sectors, as being only a meager amount of 1 – 1.5 percent of the GDP and as including in substantial part, many already existing welfare schemes and budgetary allocations.
The trade unions have called on the workers, peasants and all working people throughout the country, to organize vigorous protest actions on July 3, opposing the anti-worker, anti-farmer, anti-people and anti-national policies of the government. They have warned the government that they will launch a non-cooperation movement for the next 6 months, if the government does not heed these demands.