The Telegraph
Friday, December 15, 2017

RSS labour arm plans anti-govt march

First published on 15-Nov-2017

New Delhi: RSS labour arm Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) will take out a march to Parliament on Friday against "anti-worker" laws planned by the Narendra Modi government, a week after Left protests over similar issues.

BMS general secretary Virjesh Upadhyay said on Tuesday the amendments would make workers more susceptible to retrenchment and deny them the right to form unions.

He also demanded the status of workers for the millions engaged in Anganwadi centres, school midday meal programmes and health services in rural areas. They are now treated as casual helpers.

Left unions had raised similar issues during three days of protests last week and the Friday march suggests the BMS too is uneasy with central policies. "We take a stand on issues irrespective of the parties in power," Upadhyay said.

The proposed amendments will compromise the security of workers in companies, Upadhyay said. Under the Industrial Disputes Act, any unit with over 100 workers requires government approval for retrenchments. The threshold is proposed to be raised to 300, allowing more firms to lay off workers.

Another amendment being pushed will bar workers from forming unions with the help of outsiders. Since workers are scared in most industries, they may stay off such associations, Upadhyay said.

Upadhyay demanded Rs 18,000 per month as the minimum wage for any job, a rate that now varies from Rs 5,100 to Rs 7,200 across sectors, including rural job scheme NREGA. The BMS also called for doubling of NREGA workdays to 200 each year.

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