The union government is set to face one of the strongest oppositions from its own — Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the largest trade union and an affiliate of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) — over several issues including the big labour reforms and aim to sell public sector undertakings (PSUs).
BMS Wednesday announced it will observe Wake up Government’ protest week across the country, across sectors from July 24-30 on problems of the workforce at the national, state, industry and local level. The central union said it rejects government intention of selling PSUs across sectors and asserted that it is even ready to work with all other trade unions in its fight against Govt for protecting workers issues. A combined effort from trade unions will increase Govt-workers friction at a time, working class is facing a tough time due to job loss and income loss.
It said it has identified five “burning issues” which needs urgent attention from the government. These are suspension of labour laws, unbridled privatisation by selling PSUs and also through corporatisation of defence and railway production units, massive job losses, non-payment of wages and problems faced by unorganised sector workers, particularly migrants.
“The union government has said that the government is for privatization. But does not explain why? They are for privatizing and corporatizing sectors like coal, defence and railway production units, telecom etc. First the country went for nationalization of banks, insurance and lot many sectors and now the move is to privatize. Look at the job loss and income loss of people, who will compensate them and how will you revive demand in the economy,” said Virjesh Upadhaya, general secretary of BMS.
“BMS will continue to fight against the government until it withdraws all its recent initiatives affecting workers directly,” Upadhaya added. “We are not against economic development but at what cost. Some intellectuals are misleading the government on labour reform issues and favouring mass labour law exemptions. If there is no demand and consumption in the market how will economy recover? Who will create demand if you workers income goes down and their jobs are at stake,” he added.
The move assumes significance as RSS is the ideological parent of ruling BJP and a massive protest week will build public perception against the government.
BMS said sector-wise demonstrations will be held in state capitals, district headquarters and at tehsil level, and also in big industrial belts but people will observe covid-19 precautions in containment zones.
Upadhaya said BMS and other trade unions joined hands in their coal mines protest earlier this month and asserted that it disrupted 95% activities in the coal sector against the privatization move. BMS said it believes the success of the coal strike will encourage all PSUs and government sector employees as well as industrial workers.