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During its first term, the Modi led BJP government fast tracked the process of dismantling the labour laws that provided some protection to the workers, though to a very small section of them. It embarked upon codification of the 44 central labour laws into 4 codes. When this met with stiff resistance from all central trade unions with massive countrywide strikes, it was the BJP led state governments that carried the baton to amend labour laws in their respective states, Rajasthan taking the lead.  BJP government at the centre directed all state governments to follow suit.

After returning to power with increased mandate, labour law amendment was again taken up by the BJP government led by Modi as a priority. All the labour code bills were introduced in Parliament. But, despite its majority in Lok Sabha, BJP government could pass only the Code on Wages. Even as it wanted to push through the others - the Code on Occupational Health and Safety and Working Conditions, the Code on Industrial Relations and the Code on Social Security - it was compelled to refer them to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour. Before it could get them enacted, the Corona pandemic struck. 

The lockdown imposed to contain the pandemic brought the entire economy, which was already sliding, to a halt. It wreaked havoc with the lives and livelihoods of the workers, particularly the migrant workers and the unorganised sector workers. This was seen, by the distorted minds of the ruling classes and their pen pushers, as an opportunity to crush workers’ rights, shove them into slavery and protect their own profits. Again the lead was taken by the BJP ruled state governments, with the silent approval and blessing of Prime Minister Modi and his government. One by one BJP led state governments took up the process of nullifying all labour laws; state governments led by the Congress or other regional parties also followed.   

The BJP led Uttar Pradesh government has promulgated an ordinance nullifying almost all labour laws in the state for a period of three years. All establishments in the state are now exempted from all the 38 labour laws in vogue, except four. 

The chief minister of BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh announced that his government was going to follow his counterpart in Uttar Pradesh to annul labour laws for 1000 days and liberate the employers. New establishments in the state will be exempt from their obligation under the Factories Act, Madhya Pradesh Industrial Relations Act, Industrial Disputes Act, Contract Labour Act etc through appropriate amendments by executive order or ordinance. They have been assured that there will be no labour department’s intervention in the establishment during this period; no inspections; only self certification. They can hire and fire workers as per their choice. Nobody can prevent them if they want to fire existing workers and hire new workers at lower wages. Trade unions will not be allowed to raise workers’ issues or bargain with the management. Employers are even exempted from payment of Rs 80 per worker to the Madhya Pradesh Labour Welfare Board.

Not to be left behind, the BJP state government in Gujarat reportedly decided to initiate similar measures to give freedom to the employers from the imaginary clutches of labour laws for a period of 1200 days, i.e. more than three years. 

The state cabinet in Assam, again ruled by BJP, decided to implement Fixed Term Employment and exempt large number of employers from following labour laws like the Factories Act and the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act. It has decided to increase the threshold number of workers for applicability of the Factories Act from 20 to 40 in the case of factories not using power and from 10 to 20 in the case of those using power. This will throw large number of workers in the manufacturing units out of legal protection under the Act related to occupational safety, health and welfare. 

As it is, most of the factories in our country do not have proper ventilation facilities, toilets, crèches, potable drinking water etc. Thousands of workers die every year of industrial accidents due to the neglect of the employers, the latest being the accident in LG Polymers in Visakhapatnam in which 12 people in the nearby village died and hundreds became seriously ill. Besides, when the economy is being opened up even as the fight against the corona virus needs to be continued, it is essential to ensure safe workplaces with facilities for washing hands, sanitisation and physical distancing etc. Instead of doing this, the BJP led governments are putting workers’ safety and lives to greater risk. 

Similarly, the threshold for the applicability of Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 in Assam will be raised from the present 20 to 50. Contractors can limit the number of their workers to 49 and exploit them with unlimited freedom. 

The BJP government in Karnataka is also on the same path. It is reportedly considering relaxing labour laws related to minimum wages, working hours and also others. It has suddenly transferred the Principal Secretary of its Labour Department, who was reportedly considered a thorn in its attempts. 

In addition, several state governments – not only BJP led ones as in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Assam but also Congress led governments in Punjab and Rajasthan as well as the BJD led Odisha government have increased daily working hours from 8 to 12 and from 48 to 72 in a week with 12 hour shifts. The BJP led governments in Karnataka and Tripura too are joining the bandwagon. Tripura government has also decided to increase the threshold number of workers in establishments to 300 for the employers to hire and fire as per their wishes.

On 9th May the Congress government in Punjab withdrew its own notification issued on 1st May increasing DA to industrial workers, which would have increased the minimum wages of workers by over Rs 350 from 1st March.  

It is highly significant that in this mad rush to amend labour laws to satisfy the employers, it was only the LDF government in Kerala, where the state labour minister has categorically asserted that the state was not going to amend the labour laws in favour of the employers. 

It is to be noted that all these are in total violation of the ILO conventions to which India is a signatory. The first convention that ILO, which India signed stipulates 8 hours of work in a day and 48 hours of work in a week.  India is also a signatory to the Tripartite Consultation International Labour Standards Convention, 1976, which requires it to consult stakeholders – employers and workers’ bodies – before taking any policy decision. But the state governments did not engage with trade unions, thus violating the Tripartite Consultation Convention C144. This is not the first time that the BJP government led by Modi is ignoring tripartism. CITU had to raise this with the ILO, during the first tenure of the Modi government.

That the government is acting as per the demands, rather dictates of the employers is very clear. Representatives of 12 employers’ associations and industries including Council of Indian Employers, FICCI, ASSOCHAM and PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry have demanded government of India to suspend labour laws for the next two to three years and to increase working hours to 12 per day. The Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry demanded that trade unions be prohibited for at least one year. They complained that minimum wages were too high and bringing them down was nearly impossible; and they reiterated their long time demand for freedom to hire and fire. 

These demands and the response of the governments are nothing short of cruel. The corona pandemic has further increased the distress of the working class whose situation was already worsening due to the economic crisis. The workers are now facing unprecedented deprivations. ILO has estimated that half the workers globally would lose their jobs; in India around 40 crores workers are estimated to be pushed into poverty. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) has reported that 120 million Indian have lost their jobs. Unemployment rate has risen to around 27%. Crores of migrant and other workers who have lost their jobs suddenly find themselves homeless and hungry; lakhs of migrant workers have been walking hundreds of kilometres to their homes, hundreds succumbed to exhaustion and accidents on their way. 

It is in such conditions that the employers and the governments serving them are trying to push workers into conditions of slavery. The employers don’t want to pay them wages; but they also won’t allow them to go back to their native places either. They want the workers to be available, homeless, starving but ready to work with low wages and without any legal protection whenever the establishments are open. But, that is what capitalism is. In their rush for profits, capitalists trample underfoot workers, human beings, nature, anybody and anything; no feelings of justice, humanity or morality here.

This atrocious annulment of labour laws, meant to push workers into slavery is being done ostensibly in the name of attracting investment and supported by some in the name of weaning foreign firms from China. In the context of the corona pandemic, ‘China has become unpopular and many companies would exit from China. India should take this as a big opportunity, attract these firms and replace China as the ‘factory of the world’ – so goes the argument. 

Commending the UP, MP and Gujarat government’s initiatives as ‘one of the boldest and bravest initiatives since reforms in 1991’, Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Ayog recommended further reforms in other sectors as well. ‘It’s now or never; states are driving bold reforms; we will never get this opportunity; seize it’, he egged on the corporates.

However, this argument that foreign companies would relocate themselves from China to India is totally misplaced. Even Indian firms are not investing in the country, particularly during the last few years. The major reason is the deteriorating purchasing power of the people and the inability to sell the manufactured products.  Further suppressing demand through these measures will only worsen the disease.

In addition there is no empirical evidence that prohibiting labour laws or reducing wages would lead to economic growth. In Rajasthan, while the labour law amendments of the former BJP government were hailed by the corporates, what followed was fall in wages, increase in unemployment and decline in the state GDP. The Economic Survey of 2018-19 stressed that a high minimum wage does not impact employment generation. Besides, it is not only the trade unions, even eminent legal experts point out that ‘to say our labour laws are strictly implemented is a myth and thus to infer that their implementation is the primary cause for losses in productivity would be very erroneous’.

Within the serious constraints of the lockdown the working class in the country has made it clear they were not going to take these attacks lying down. In almost all the states wherever these changes were being carried out or being considered, in Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Bihar etc protests were held in front of the labour commissioners’ officers, work places, or houses etc, by CITU independently or jointly along with other trade unions. On 14th May the central trade unions in the joint trade union platform discussed on line about the future course of action to resist these measures. The secretariat meeting of CITU scheduled to be held on line on 15th May will finalise its campaign and struggle programmes on the basis of the call of its 16th conference ‘to defy and resist’ anti worker policies of the government. 

These attacks on the hard won rights of the working class, its display of authoritarianism are part of the attacks on the basic democratic and human rights of the toiling people by the desperate capital in crisis. These must be defeated and reversed through united struggles, not only of the working class but by the entire toiling masses.

Com. Hemalata

 The Centre of Indian Trade Unions expresses serious concern over reported ‘Styrene’ gas leakage at early morning little after 1 a.m. at the South Korean LG Polymer factory at K R Venkatapuram village at Visakhapatnam. The leakage has been so massive that it affected the inhabitants of the adjoining area beyond 3.5 kilometre radius of the Plastic Plant.

As per report received till 12 O’clock, 10 persons have died including one child and hundreds are seriously affected. Around 1000 are hospitalized in serious conditions. Evacuation of the local inhabitants from the area is reportedly going on.

The leakage took place while the 5000 tonne- capacity tanker was being filled with chemicals in preparation to start the factory operations shortly. The leakage took place owing to utter neglect and failure on the part of the company to ensure basic preventive safety as per Standard Operative Procedures (SOP) on chemical handling, with the gas spreading fast to the adjoining areas. The LG Polymer Plant, having its plant located in the midst of thickly populated areas cannot evade its responsibility to ensure that machineries and chemical/gas-storage facilities are properly maintained even during shutdown/lockdown. It was its responsibility to ensure that the required caution is exercised and safety norms are continuously followed to avoid any leakage/accident endangering human lives. As per report, both the two huge tankers with chemicals were left unattended during the lockdown by the Company management. The incident of gas leakage is nothing but a reflection of criminal negligence on the part of the company concerned only of minimising cost to maximise profit.  

This shows that the Govts, both at the Centre and State have not drawn any lessons from the Bhopal Gas tragedy decades back owing to such criminal default on the part of Union Carbide. The LG Polymers Company must not be allowed  to go scot-free. The Company should be held responsible and liable for this disastrous gas-leakage and must be prosecuted. The company also must be  made to pay not less than Rs 50 lakh as compensation to the families of those who lost their lives; adequate compensation must also be paid to all the other affected people; the Company also must be made to bear the entire expenditure for medical treatment of all those affected by the gas leakage.

CITU demands that the Govt must initiate an enquiry by an independent competent agency on the real cause of the accident/leakage to draw the lessons for further regulation/monitoring of the operations of the chemical plant besides fixing accountability in concrete terms. At the same time relocation of the factory beyond the populated areas should be seriously considered.

Issued by

( Tapan Sen )
General Secretary

As the mass of the working people have been subjected to inhuman sufferings owing to loss of jobs, loss of wages, eviction from residences etc reducing them to hungry non-entities by the profit-hungry employers’ class in the process of 45 days lockdown, the Govt of the day at the centre has pounced upon those working people only with fangs and claws to reduce them to the stature of virtual slaves.

The Central Govt has taken a strategy to let lose their compliant state governments to start this cruel exercise. The BJP led Gujarat Govt pioneered to unilaterally expand the daily-working hours from eight hours to 12 hours without lawful compensation as per Factories Act while the governments of Haryana and Madhya Pradesh followed suit. Subsequently the state governments in Punjab and Rajasthan are reported to issue similar notification increasing daily working hours to 12 hours, obviously at the dictate of the corporate class and the Govt of Tripura and Maharashtra also are reportedly moving in the same direction.

The latest is the more aggressive move to liberate the corporate employers from the obligations under almost all labour laws in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh at the dictate of their corporate masters. The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister has announced the decision to exempt the employers from their substantive  obligations under various labour laws like  Factories Act, Madhya Pradesh Industrial Relations Act and Industrial Disputes Act, Contract Labour Act etc  through appropriate amendments by executive order or Ordinance for a period of 1000 days, i.e., three years empowering the employers to hire and fire workers “at their convenience”; and there will be no labour department’s intervention in the establishments during the said period.  Not only that, the employers were also exempted from payment of Rs 80/- per labourer to Madhya Pradesh Labour Welfare Board.

Similarly the Uttar Pradesh Govt in its Cabinet meeting held on 6th May 2020 has decided to exempt all establishments in the state from all the labour laws in vogue for a period of three years which will be notified through Ordinance.

It is also reported that the BJP Govt in Tripura has proposed to increase the daily working hours to 12 hours and also to permit hire and fire of workers as per convenience of the employers in all establishments employing up to 300 workers.

It is apprehended, most other state governments, particularly those ruled by BJP and its allies will follow the same path  while  competing with others in the name of development and attracting investment in the state on the dubious plea of revival of their economy.  In reality, inhuman crime is being committed on the working people.

CITU strongly denounce such barbarous move to impose conditions of slavery on the working people who are actually creating wealth for the country, simultaneously suffering from brutal exploitation and loot by the capitalists and big-business. CITU calls upon the trade unions irrespective of affiliations and working people in general to unite and resist this barbarous and brutal machination on their rights and livelihood both at workplace level and at state and national level through determined united struggle.

Issued by

( Tapan Sen )
General Secretary

CITU is deeply shocked at the killing of 16 migrant workers who were killed by a fast moving goods train, while sleeping on the railway tracks, early this morning near a village in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. CITU expresses its condolence and heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved families. Two more people were critically injured.

This accident did not happen just like that. It is a reflection of the misgovernance and policy failure of the BJP government led by Modi.   Losing their jobs, distressed and hungry these workers, working for a steel plant in Jalna near Aurangabad started to their native place in Madhya Pradesh, walking along the railway track.  It is reported that exhausted, they lied down and went into sleep on the railway tracks when they were killed.

CITU condemns the failure of the BJP government led by Modi in arranging adequate number of trains to transport all the migrant workers who want to go to their native places to be with their families during the distress created by the lockdown. CITU points out that it is these workers who contribute substantially for running the wheels of the economy and the country. Yet, the government treats them with such apathy and disdain.  

CITU demands adequate compensation by the government of India to the families of those killed and to those injured.

CITU also demands of Modi government for an immediate meeting with the central trade unions on migrant workers’ issues arising out of Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.    

Issued by
(Tapan Sen)
General Secretary


The Centre of Indian Trade Unions condemns the cancellation of train services slated to start from Bangalore for return of the migrant workers, at the instance of the BJP led State Govt in Karnataka. The State Govt requested the Indian Railways to cancel all the 10 trains from Banaglore to Danapur in Bihar, scheduled to run on the next five days for return of the migrant workers. Accordingly the trains were declared withdrawn on 5-5-2020 by the Principal Secretary to Govt of Karnataka, Department of Revenue, who is also the Nodal Officer for Migrant Workers vide his communication no RD-184-PRS-2020 as reported by media.

It is further reported that the Chief Minister of the BJP State Govt of Karnataka has decided to cancel the scheduled train services for return of the migrant workers, after a meeting with the representatives of Employers’ Association, particularly the Real Estate Developers.

CITU considers such a move inhuman and cruel. The migrant workers were subjected to unimaginable miseries and hunger, not being paid by most of the employers during the 40 days’ lockdown period. The state Govt did little to give any relief to the majority of the migrant workforce.  And now the same employers community does not want the workers to go back to their home state and the BJP led state government is readily obliging the capitalist lobby in their cruel game-plan. 

The entire exercise is also a reflection of utter hypocrisy. The BJP Govt at the centre, after lot of pressure, has ultimately agreed to run to Shramik Special trains for return of migrant workers and after lot of bungling agreed to bear the 85% cost of journey by Indian Railways. Now, the BJP Govt of Karnataka refuses to send the migrant workers back home, at the dictates of the capitalist lobby. Aren’t the reluctance and the refusal part of a single exercise?

While denouncing such cancellation of train services for return of migrant workers from Bangalore, CITU strongly apprehends the possibility of similar retrograde moves in some other states also. We cannot accept such game-plan lying down.

CITU demands upon the Central Govt to get the scheduled train services from Karnataka for the migrant workers resumed and not to allow similar cancellation in other states since such return of migrant workers must be construed as part of disaster management under the concerned Act.

CITU and other trade unions in Karnataka and Bihar have already started protesting such cruel injustice against the migrant workers. We call upon the working class movement in the entire country to unitedly protest against such measures.  

Issued by
(Tapan Sen)
General Secretary


We have been drawing your attention through our letters to you and also the Labour Minister to the plight of the working people - rural and urban, organized and unorganized sector, self employed, own account workers, gig economy and agricultural workers etc. who lost their livelihood due to sudden lockdown. We have been raising the issues time and again that in crisis situation the buffer stocks of FCI be opened to feed all working masses universally without requirement of any cards/ documents. But from our ground reports even those who are the card holders of categories such as Antyodaya – BPL-APL,  they are not covered fully. In our understanding enough is yet not accomplished for ration to reach everybody. We again urge you to please open the huge Anna Bhandaar available with FCI for all these people.

All the workers working in different other states or in the far off districts/locations within the state far from their villages are now exhausted financially and mentally with no cash and nothing at all in their hands wherever they are stranded. In such a situation, to make them pay for their  rail fare to travel back to their homes is the height of insensitivity to their plight.

We also take objection to the latest order from the Ministry of Home Affairs dated 3rd May stating that the government will facilitate the movement  only of those stranded workers who had gone to work or from work place to hometown just before lockdown but could not return to their  native places/work places on account of restrictions placed on movement of persons and vehicles as part of lock down measures. We take it as discriminatory as no restrictions can be put on the movement of the migrant workers making it time conditional on all those who are desperate to visit their families. Moreover no one would be interested in un-necessary travel as there are fears of getting infected from Covid-19 virus.

We urge upon you to please appreciate and appropriately intervene and ensure for their return to home without charging any fares from them in trains and the public transport in roadways.

These workers are already in distress and they should not be pushed into further miseries.

We hope you would immediately take cognizance in the matter and take appropriate urgent decision in favour of these migrant/ stranded workers.

There is urgent need for cash support also for the working people for their survival related requirements and have been urging for about Rs.7500/- per month to be transferred to all the needy(non income tax paying) households for a period of three months at least irrespective of   the Women Jan Dhan Yojna with about 20 crore registered (coverage of less than 5 crores families only) and among them also substantial number of accounts have been deactivated .We urge you for your immediate attention for this cash transfer demand to be accepted by the government.

We know that big organized sector is in position to make wage payments till the sector restarts its production as per government advisory (which is being flouted by many amongst them and we have been bringing to the notice of Ministry of Labour for enforcement intervention without any result yet), but the MSME sector are in real difficulties and need to be supported. We strongly opine that there is need to subsidise the sector for wage payment of the workers for at least three months to come and that aspect needs to be considered.

We take this opportunity to urge you to immediately cancel all unnecessary projects such as “New Parliament Complex”, provisions made for NPR, so that funds are available where needed urgently.

Thanking you
Yours sincerely

INTUC                     AITUC                    HMS                     CITU                       AIUTUC

TUCC                SEWA                      AICCTU                     LPF                    UTUC

Dear Prime Minister Sir,

The trade union movement has been demanding since the beginning of the lockdown period to arrange for return of the stranded migrant workers from different parts of the country to their home states through special trains and other means of transportation, depending on the distance to be travelled. This had become the urgent necessity since following lockdown, crores of migrant workers scattered all over the country were thrown into unimaginable miseries, as they have lost their jobs, earnings and having been evicted from their residences, they find themselves a non-entity, despite being the most productive workforce in industries and services both in unorganized and organized sector. And such a situation had also arisen owing to Govt directives through both Home Ministry’s and Labour Ministry’s Orders on non-termination of employment, full payment of wages and non-eviction from respective staying places during the lockdown period were allowed to be desperately violated by the authorities concerned to the advantage of the employers and landlords.

Although quite late, resulting in so many casualties among the destitute workers and their family members, we welcome the recent move of the Govt on the eve of third phase of lockdown in the matter of arranging special trains for the movement of stranded migrant workers as noted in abovementioned orders of the Railway Ministry.

At the same time we like to point out that it is totally unjust, rather a cruelty to make stranded migrant workers pay the train fare for availing those special trains to return to their home states. These workers, through the process of 38 days lockdown have lost everything they had and have been passing days in virtual starvation, many along with their family members.

Therefore, CITU urges upon you to please intervene so that the 1)stranded migrant workers are allowed to travel Shramik Special Trains free of cost and central govt must bear the financial responsibility, 2) workers on movement in trains should be provided food, safety gears and medical attendance, 3) Such Shramik Special Trains are provided for all destinations wherefrom the migrant workers have come to serve in other states simultaneously and such movement process of the stranded workers should not suffer owing to laxity from any end either from central govts or state govts- both the state of origination and the recipient states.

With regards,
Yours sincerely,
(Tapan Sen)
General Secretary 

Wednesday, 29 April 2020 11:02

2020 May

Tuesday, 28 April 2020 06:51

May Day Greetings!

'Tax the Super rich; Save the poor'
'No to 12 hours work'
'No retrenchments;
No wage cuts'

Friday, 24 April 2020 10:56

2020 April

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