The resident doctors of Kasturba Hospital and Hindu Rao Hospital, administered by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD), are protesting against non-payment of salaries for the past nearly three months. The resident doctors of Kasturba Hospital have threatened mass resignation if their salaries, due since March 2020, are not paid. The nearly 100 resident doctors working at Kasturba Hospital have written a letter to the hospital authorities, announcing that they will resign on June 16 if their salaries are not paid by that date.
A resident doctor reported to the media that at least 10 healthcare staff, including doctors, PG students and nurses, had tested positive for Covid-19 last month in Kasturba Hospital alone, after coming in contact with asymptomatic patients. The doctors have expressed their frustration at the fact that though they are frontline workers in the battle against Covid-19, and they are working in difficult conditions during the lockdown, putting themselves and their families at risk, they have to suffer this kind of injustice. Not receiving their salaries for three months is posing a heavy financial burden on them and their families. Doctors who stay outside the hospital campus in private accommodation need to pay rent and travel to work. They have to support their families. Several resident doctors have been asked by their landlords to vacate their houses, due to fear of contracting corona virus, adding to their difficulties.
The nearly 70 permanent doctors at Kasturba Hospital too have complained that they have not been paid their salaries for the past 3 months. Delay in payment of salaries of doctors has been reported from this hospital and many other MCD hospitals earlier too. Last month, healthcare staff at several North MCD hospitals, polyclinics and maternity nursing homes complained that they have not been paid their salaries for at least two months.
Meanwhile, the doctors have been told by the hospital authorities that they have not received any funds from the MCD for paying the doctors’ salaries and no time has been specified as to when they will receive the funds, so they cannot tell the doctors how long they would have to wait for their salaries.
The condition of the doctors and health care personnel at the hospitals of the Delhi Municipal Corporation clearly exposes the hollowness of the government’s claim that it is paying so much attention to the “frontline warriors”. In reality, doctors, nurses and hospital staff are not even provided adequate and good quality PPE and other necessary equipment. They have to work for long hours without rest and risk infection all the time. They face hostile discrimination in the places where they live. On top of all this, they are not even receiving their salaries for months on end and cannot make two ends meet.
In a militant protest against illegal layoffs of more than 1,200 workers, women workers demonstrated all night on June 9 outside the Euro Clothing Company-2 plant in Srirangapatna, Karnataka. They demanded that their fellow workers be reinstated at their jobs. The fired workers had been working at the plant for the past 10 years.
It is to be noted that the Euro Clothing Company-2 is owned by the Gokaldas Export group. The group exports apparel from some of the world’s most expensive and well-known foreign brands to the USA and Europe. It is one of India’s major garment manufacturing companies and has more than 20 plants with over 20,000 women workers.
On June 8, Euro Clothing officially announced that it would be laying off workers.
Workers say that the company was permitted to restart operations on May 5, during the lockdown relaxation period. The management called workers for duty, even though public transport was still closed. Only 30 percent of the workers were given work and paid just 50 percent of their rightful wages. This is extremely unjust since none of the workers were paid during the lockdown.
The Garment Association Trade Workers Union has declared that the layoffs violate labour laws. When production is halted, workers should be paid 50 percent of their wages. As per labour laws, companies with more than 100 workers require government approval before firing workers. However, the company did not seem to find it necessary to get government permission and illegally laid off its workers.
On 10th June, coal workers across the country observed a protest day. The countrywide protest day was in opposition to the central government allowing private companies to mine coal and proposed separation of the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) from Coal India, with an intention to privatize the sector. CMPDI is one of the navratna enterprises.
In coal industry sectors like Korba, Kusmunda, Deepak, and Gevra coal workers wore a black badge and organised protests, demonstrations, gate meetings, etc. Further, there is a plan to observe black day across the country on 11th June. An effigy will be burnt to demonstrate opposition to the central government’s anti-worker, anti-national and anti-people policy of privatizing coal mining.
The struggle is jointly led by coal industry trade unions like Central workers union AITUC, INTUC, HMS, UTUC, TUCC and NFITU.
The coal sector union associated with BMS is organizing a program to raise the same demands.
AITUC National Secretary Vidya Sagar Giri told Mazdoor Ekta Lehar that ” The main objective of coal workers’ protest is to stop government’s attempts to hand over the country’s natural resources to national and international capitalists for their benefit.” Coal mining used to be a private sector earlier. During that time protected coal reserves were destroyed and looted anarchically for the profits of private capitalist owners. Coal workers have experienced exploitation in the private sector coal mining. Now privatizing the sector again is against the interests of the country and the workers.
Com. Gajendra Pratap Singh, leader of the National Coal workers Union associated with Hind Mazdoor Sabha, said that thousands of workers marched on the CCL general manager’s office in Bokaro against the government’s anti-workers policy. They submitted a memorandum addressing the Prime Minister.
In addition to the above mentioned, other demands included ensuring payment of wages to all contract workers in the coal industry as per the recommendations of High Power Committee, restoring the scheme of giving employment to a dependent of the deceased employee, stopping state governments from suspending labor laws, stopping amendment to the labor laws to benefit the capitalists, transferring Rs.7500 for 6 months to the account holders of all the people who are outside the limits of the income tax, and guaranteeing provision of 10 kg of foodgrains for 6 months to every person in the families that need the help.