Transport workers in West Bengal unite on their charter of demands

Report of the correspondent of Mazdoor Ekta Committee

The Indian state has been launching one attack after the other on the working class and toiling people. The state is taking steps to privatise public sector enterprises and contractualise jobs in private as well public sectors. Additionally, Central and state governments are passing anti-worker laws to give a free hand to capitalists owners to increase exploitation of workers.

As a result of inflation and price rise of essential commodities, the standard of living of workers is deteriorating. Mounting unemployment is forcing workers to accept work at lower wages since there is an army of unemployed desperate to find any employment.

As with workers in other sectors and in other parts of India, the transport workers in West Bengal are also resisting these attacks on their rights and on the rights of the workers in general. They are determined to escalate their struggles against such attacks. In this connection, they have come out with a charter of demands around which they are uniting. These include:

  1. Urgent measures for containing price-rise through universalisation of public distribution system and banning speculative trade in commodity market;
  2. Containing unemployment through concrete measures for employment generation;
  3. Strict enforcement of all basic labour laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws;
  4. Universal social security cover for all workers;
  5. Minimum wages of not less than Rs 15,000/- per month with provisions of indexation;
  6. Assured enhanced pension not less than Rs.3,000/- p.m. for the entire working population;
  7. Stoppage of disinvestment in Central/State PSUs;
  8. Stoppage of contractorisation in permanent perennial work and payment of same wage and benefits for contract workers as regular workers for same and similar work;
  9. Removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund; increase the quantum of gratuity;
  10. Compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days from the date of submitting application and immediate ratification of ILO Conventions C 87 and C 98;
  11. Stoppage of Pro Employer Labour Law Amendments; and
  12. Stoppage of FDI in Railways, Insurance and Defence.

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