Resolutely combat the plans of the bourgeoisie to intensify the exploitation of workers using the Coronavirus pandemic as an excuse!
Unite to establish a society that will guarantee the well-being of workers!
Statement of Mazdoor Ekta Committee, 10th May 2020
India’s biggest capitalists are announcing several plans to intensify the exploitation of workers in the coming days even as the country is going through the Coronavirus pandemic.
In the name of “overcoming the economic crisis arising out of the pandemic” the central government and various state governments – Punjab, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and others – have suspended the existing labour laws for the next three years and have announced many exemptions to the capitalists with the intent of intensifying the exploitation of the workers.
All these states have announced that manufacturing enterprises will now be allowed to increase their working hours from 8 hours per day to 12 hours per day, and from 48 hours a week to 72 hours a week, through the amendment of the Factories Act 1948. These states have also announced amendments to the Contract Workers Act, Factories Act and Industrial Disputes Act to increase the scope to hire contract workers and also to facilitate hire and fire of workers. Strikes have been banned. Further, the UP government has passed an ordinance by which the Minimum Wages Act, Maternity Benefit Act, Equal Remuneration Act, Trade Unions Act, Industrial Employment Act, Industrial Disputes Act, Factories Act, all will be suspended for a period of three years. Capitalists will be exempted from inspection of factories by the administration. Capitalists will be exempted from implementing the Occupational Safety Act at the workplace. The Trade Union Act will be amended to make it harder for workers to establish such unions that will fight for their rights.
The Central government and various state governments were attempting to replace the existing labour laws with four labour codes in the interests of the big capitalists, even before the Coronavirus pandemic surfaced. Through these steps the big capitalists wanted to deprive workers of all basic rights, safety provisions and other concessions they have won through many years of struggle. But due to the resolute opposition of workers and their organisations, the government was unable to push through this plan. Now, taking advantage of the restrictions placed on strikes and demonstrations due to the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, and under the pretext of saving the economy from financial crisis, the big capitalists are trying to fulfil their agenda through the Central and state governments.
The Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has clearly revealed the anti-worker character of the capitalists and their State. Crores of workers lost their livelihood overnight. Suddenly they found themselves homeless and without any support for themselves and for their families. They were forced to go to bed hungry. When workers wanted to go back to their villages and homes, the State stopped all means of transport and imposed severe restrictions and even used bestial police forcing the workers into cages, as if they were animals. Now, when people have started to condemn this in the country and internationally, the Central and state governments are saying that they will make arrangements for workers to go home. However, no sooner did the big capitalists object to this move by saying that if the workers went back then there will be a shortage of cheap labour in factories and construction sites, the governments again started preventing the workers from returning home. The government has not accepted any responsibility of ensuring that the workers are given their wage arrears. This once again demonstrates that the Indian State, its Central government and state governments work only to protect and increase the profits of domestic and foreign big capitalists and corporate houses. It is not the aim of the ruling class to ensure the well-being of workers, the real producers of wealth in society.
The imperialists and big corporate houses are trying to come out of the crisis by increasing the exploitation and loot of the workers and toilers many times over. The changes that are being brought in the labour laws are aimed at depriving the workers of all basic rights, removing any restrictions on increasing their exploitation and unbridled slavery, so that the profits of the big capitalists can be protected and increased. The ruling class wants that there should be no reduction in the profits of the big capitalists even if it means that workers have to be deprived of the right to a human existence!
Today it is crystal clear that capitalism is an extremely inhuman system. Its main aim is to keep enriching the Indian and foreign monopoly corporate houses at the cost of millions of human lives.
The steps taken by the ruling capitalist class clearly shows that that it is advancing on an anti-social and anti-national course.
The capitalist class is no longer fit to lead the society. Only the working class can save the society from destruction!
Mazdoor Ekta Committee calls upon all trade unions, workers’ organisations, women’s organisations, youth and students’ organisations as well as other people’s organisations to resolutely combat the attacks on the working class by the big capitalist ruling class and its governments. As production starts in the factories after lockdown, we will have to unite and organise strikes and protest actions to defeat this conspiracy of the capitalist class. Alongside, we will have to unite to escalate the struggle to usher in a future in which the economy works to ensure the well-being of all toilers and not to fill the pockets of the handful of super-rich. We will have to advance the struggle for a future in which workers and toilers take all the important decisions of society, in the interest of the whole of society, and not to fulfil the greed of the big corporate houses.
We are workers, not slaves!
Down with the attacks on the rights of the workers!
Let us fight for our rights and for a bright future for society!
Those who produce the wealth of the country must be its rulers!
Workers’ unity zindabad!