More than 400 union activists from all the districts of Maharashtra gathered in Nashik on 6th January, 2018 to oppose the retrograde changes in labour laws. Senior leaders of CITU, AITUC, HMS, BKS, BMS, Kamgar Ekta Chalwal, etc. participated.
The unions denounced the changes in labour laws proposed by the Maharashtra Government. At present the law allows the capitalists to close the factories employing up to 100 workers without seeking permission from the Government. The proposed amendment raises the limit to 300 workers and gives the capitalists permission to close down such factories and retrench the workers by giving a lump sum of 60 days wages. All the unions opposed this and insisted that the Government should instead make it more difficult for the capitalists to retrench workers. They demanded that factories with more than 50 workers should be required to seek permission from the Government for closure.
The meeting also opposed the privatization of railways, hospitals, defence, and insurance as it was anti-people and anti-worker. After privatization a large number of workers lose their jobs, while working conditions badly deteriorate for the rest of them. Prices of these services also shoot up after privatization.
Ordnance factory leaders pointed out that the Government on one hand was talking about “Make in India” but actually their factories were being starved of work. As in other sectors, ordnance factories were being made sick by the government’s own actions, while products were being imported from abroad. They pointed out that young people everywhere have to struggle to get work.
Insurance workers pointed out that GIC and LIC service a very large number of policy holders and yet the Government is bringing in foreign insurance companies. Union leaders of banks also opposed their privatization. They said that this was a highly retrograde step.
The resolutions to staunchly oppose the proposed amendments were supported by all the unions. The leaders urged the activists to go all out in the 36 districts of Maharashtra and collect 4.5 crore signatures of industrial workers, ASHA workers, rural workers, etc. and present them to the Government. A mammoth morcha is being planned to be held in Mumbai in April.