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The government has extended the country wide lockdown to 3rd May 2020. Announcing the extension, the Prime Minister has given seven advices to the people. But there is not one sentence about the measures that his government proposes to take to provide relief to the tens of millions of workers who have lost their only source of income and are starving with their families. They are not in a position to put into practice the Prime Minister’s advice to take care of their old family members. They are not in a position to feed them. The Prime Minister has no advice for them about what they should do. 

It is the workers, particularly the unorganised workers, the contract and casual workers, the NEEM workers, apprentices, trainees etc in the organised sector, the migrant workers including the construction, brick kiln etc workers, the workers in micro and small enterprises, the domestic workers, the small peasants and agricultural workers etc who are bearing the brunt of the lockdown due to the corona virus pandemic. The journalists, IT/ITES employees and permanent workers in the organised sector are also not spared. Every day cases of closure, retrenchments and wage cuts of workers, not only in the private sector, organised and unorganised but also from public sector companies to corporate media houses are pouring in. It was already the workers who were the worst affected by the economic slowdown that existed even before the corona virus struck.  Even 27 days after the lockdown, most of the migrant workers stranded at different places, far from their homes, are facing hunger; they don’t know where their food for the day will come from, if at all. Nearly 200 people died of starvation, exhaustion and other causes while trying to reach their homes on foot.

The suicide of Mukesh, a migrant worker living in a slum cluster in Gurugaon, a few kilometres from the national capital on 16th April reveals the severe plight of tens of millions of migrant workers in our country. Having lost his work as a painter two months ago and having no work to do since the lockdown, exhausting all his meagre savings, he sold his only possession which could fetch some money – his cell phone, for Rs 2500. He bought some flour, rice, sugar and a table fan for his children to survive the summer heat, gave the rest of money to his wife, went inside his shanty and hanged himself. His neighbours, all migrant workers, said that they were not getting food every day. As they had no ration cards, they were not getting any ration.

The capitalist class, the big corporates and business people, are keeping to their houses, trying new recipes and enjoying with their families whereas crores of workers who create wealth, who run the wheels of society have lost their work, have no place to stay, and are starving; those whose services to the society are indispensable are made to work without any protective gear, risking their lives. Doctors, nurses and other health workers are getting infected by Covid19 and even hospitals have to be closed. The frontline workers and cleaning workers are not even provided masks.

To
The Prime Minister of India
New Delhi

Sub: Termination of employment and nonpayment of wages to Media employees during Lockdown period

Dear Prime Minister Sir,

In your repeated addresses to Nation, you have appealed the entire people to unitedly combat the Corona Pandemic in the country. You have also appealed to also ensure that nobody’s employment is terminated or wage cut is imposed owing to compulsion of lockdown. Accordingly the Union Labour Secretary and Union Home Secretary have issued directive/advisory in the context of invoking of National Disaster Management Act to all concerned not to terminate employment and ensure full payment of wages to all workers including contractual and casual workers vide their communication dated 20th March and 29th March 2020 respectively. But despite that, massive retrenchment has taken place and in many industries wage cut is also taking place. We have drawn attention of the Union Labour Secretary, and Labour Commissioners of different states on all such specific cases of terminations and nonpayment of wages requesting corrective enforceable intervention from their ends. But no result is visible as yet reducing the directives of your Govt ineffective.

Now I draw your attention the incidents of termination of employment and nonpayment of wages in the media sector, both electronic and print, although the media workers including the journalists mostly were on work during the lockdown period to keep the nation informed of all development and also to propagate the messages you sought to give to the nation through your repeated addresses.

As per reports received by us till date…….

Indian Express and Business Standard have asked the staff to accept salary-cuts; Times of India has sacked the entire Sunday Magazine team; News Nation terminated 16 digital-section employees; about half of the Quint contingent has been forced to go on leave without pay; India Today has shortlisted a team of 46 reporters, 6 cameraman and 17 producers for removal from service; ET Panache and Bombay Times are set to merge and in this process 50 per cent of the PNACHE employees are being terminated; Hindustan Times Marathi are removing the entire contingent as it is going to be closed; Urdu paper Nayi Duniya and Evening Star of Mysore and the Outlook Magazine stopped their print publication.

Above situation along with ongoing termination of employment and nonpayment of wages clearly reveals that mere appeal to the employers’ class or official advisories are not enough to address the phenomenon of violating the directive/advisories/appeal relating to the workers by the employers; because lust for profit does not have any conscience. What is required is a strong statutorily enforceable measure to put a ban on all terminations and wage cut and such measure is  actually warranted to address the kind of national disaster the country is facing.

I urge upon you to please intervene so that concrete measures are taken to put the directives/advisories of your own Govt on the above issue for execution. With regards,

Yours sincerely,
(Tapan Sen)
General Secretary

 

The hon’ble  Prime Minister is eloquent in his address to Nation today as to what people should do during the period of extended lockdown till 3rd May 2020. But he remained tragically silent on what his Govt is going to do to facilitate the success of the lockdown period and ensure physical and human survival of the poorest section of working people running into several crores.  And the crudest joke that has come to play is that PM appeals the people themselves  to take care of their poorer counterparts while the Ministers will continue to pronounce sermons through electronic media.  Dramatic as well as deceptive indeed ! PM also did not bother to inform the people whether testing will be augmented to required level as advised by experts and also by WHO. Without all these, PM address, while extending the lockdown period, is reduced to only sound bites with little substance.

Till now the Govt announced a relief package statedly for people affected by lockdown of only Rs 1.70 lakh crore.  And  out of this packge for the common people, actual funding by Govt is only Rs 79000 crore (Rs 45000 crore for free ration and Rs  34000 crore  for cash transfer for women and senior citizens) and rest will be managed out of statutory welfare fund for construction workers and other social security funds belonging to workers themselves). Innovative way of packaging ongoing existing schemes and other funds as new post Corona relief package with a deceptive intent.  

And this deceptive game becomes clear when looked into and understood  in the face of a whopping Rs 7.78 lakh crore package announced as concessions/incentive/tax-break for the handful of corporate only a couple of weeks back through the budget and subsequent pronouncements. This is over and above the Rs 5.84 lakh crore patronized default of direct-tax dues from the same community and around Rs 2 lakh crore written-off bank loans in last one year period for them only—a total bonanza of Rs15.62 lakh crore out of the national exchequer built by the people and peoples’ money in the banking system. And in this background, the just demand of the trade unions for a universal income support scheme through cash transfer is being arrogantly ignored although the estimated cost of such income support of Rs 7000/- per month to 80 per cent of 32.72 crore households in country for a period of three months is just around Rs 5.04 lakh crore—around one third of Rs 15.62 lakh crore bonanza to corporate/big business. And whereas the big corporate are being favoured with various tax-breaks, concessions and give-aways, the MSME’s demand for financial support for sustaining their employment and activities is being arrogantly ignored. This is the real face of a democratically elected Govt whose greater concern is for handful of its political donors and not the crores of common populace.  

And now the continuing concern of the people about the Corona Pandemic and the lockdown situation is being further sought to be abused and encashed by the guards of the exploitative neoliberal capitalist order in governance by increasing working hours from eight hours to 12 hours a day, and fast tracking the pro-employer changes in all labour laws to legalise and legitimise all labour law violations by the employers to ensure further bonanza to the corporate/big business by more fiercely extracting blood and sweat of the working people, majority of whom are already in dire strait fighting for their human survival.  Working class cannot accept such a deceptive and fraudulent ploy lying down.

And what has been happening on the ground about implementation of Govt’s own directives/advisories notified by Labour Secretary and Home Secretary and also by Prime Minister in his today’s address about non-termination of employment and full payment of wages in the lockdown period ? The contract workers, casual

workers and in many cases regular workers have been thrown out of employment in thousands in several establishments and several thousands others have not been paid wages for the month of March 2020 in tea gardens, jute mills, IT &ITES sector, various construction projects, including contract/casual workers even in many public sector companies in arrogant violation of Govt directives with the concerned Govts remaining mere onlookers. Crores of Migrant workers working in industries and service sectors have been thrown out of employment and evicted from their residences and thrown under the sky to suffer in hunger with their family members, although Home Ministry’s concrete directives to the contrary. Prime Minister’s address did not bother even to mention these hardships being suffered by the real wealth-creators for the national economy because the philosophy of the ruling polity is to stand along with the exploiting class and not the people at large. CITU condemns such dire inhuman insensitivity of the Govt towards the sufferings of the people.  

CITU deplores and condemns the stealthy move to make pro-employer changes in labour laws through codification and through executive orders or by Ordinance to satisfy the corporate masters. Any unilateral move in that direction without consultation with the trade unions will be opposed and resisted by the workers. Govt must have consultation with all stakeholders including in tripartite forums for its future steps workers are the biggest stakeholders in this regard.  

In such a grave situation CITU reiterates its demands and urge upon that the Govt, instead of distributing sermons through media, must act on the ground and announce statutorily enforceable measures to be directly enforced by the governments at the centre and states, without further delay. These should, inter alia, include:

  1. Urgent step to augment testing arrangement to bring the country to the standard coverage level at par with global average. Ensure adequate  availability of testing kits and centres and also of personal protective gears to meet the increasing requirement
  2. Protecting the livelihood and earnings of workers compelling the private business, along with the PSU management to ensure protection of jobs, earnings and social security benefits both for their regular workers as well as the contract and casual workers in the face of ongoing down-sizing and even shut-downs
  3. No unilateral change in labour laws to increase daily working hours and change in working conditions in favour of employers
  4. MSMEs should be granted direct financial support to enable them to sustain employment and activities
  5. Ensure transfer of Rs 5000/- for the unorganized/informal sector workers aged up to 25 years and Rs 10000/- to those above 25 years on a monthly basis through their bank/jan-dhan accounts
  6. Increase in the pension for the EPS pensioners at the minimum level to Rs 6000/-.
  7. Also the workers directly affected by corona virus and forced to stay away from work should be granted paid leave by the employers.
  8. No wage-cut, adjustment of leave etc should be allowed for shut-down or down-sizing
  9. Free rations to informal sector workers with the huge stock of food grains at  Govt-disposal
  10. Strict action against hoarders who utilise the situation leading to price rise of essential commodities including food items, medicines, sanitisers etc
  11. Separate arrangement should be made to supply mid day meal to the residence of the entitled students in view of the temporary closure of the schools. This will also save the jobs of the mid-day-meal workers besides benefiting the students.
  12. Special safety arrangement to be ensured for health-workers including the ASHAs, second ANMS and other scheme workers in the health department, anganwadi employees etc engaged in providing health and other services in different ways; workers in essential services, transport and certain industries functioning during the lockdown with govt permission should also be provided with this special safety arrangements and protective gears
  13. Increase in remuneration of the ASHA and other scheme workers in health services on a monthly basis
  14. Strengthen public sector pharmaceutical production entities for production of raw materials, testing kits and medicines including sanitisers and other implements.

Tapan Sen
General Secretary

CITU  DENOUNCE THE GOVT-MOVE TO AMEND FACTORIES ACT 1948 TO INCREASE DAILY WORKING HOURS TO 12 HRS.  CORONA SITUATION MUST NOT BE USED TO BENEFIT THE CORPORATES/BUSINESS AT THE COST OF WORKERS

Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) expresses serious concern as well as contempt at the move of the Govt at the centre to increase the daily working hours from 8 hours to 12 hours as reported by media. 

This is being considered as a measure to help production/services during the lockdown and post lockdown situation by the Govt under “exceptional circumstances” for which amendment of section 51 of the Factories Act is being contemplated. 

CITU opines that need for extra hours of working, if any, in exceptional lockdown/post-lockdown situation can very well be met under existing provisions of Factories Act through overtime-work for which no change of law is at all required. The main motive of the Govt is to help their masters in corporate/employers’ class by relieving their obligation of paying overtime wages and get the extra-working hours by workers free of cost. Corona situation is being utilized as a bonanza to the corporate/employers’ class and a straight cut in wages/earnings of the workers.

Changing the internationally accepted norm of eight hour working is already in the project of this Modi Govt; in the Code on Industrial Relations Bill 2020 already introduced in Parliament, the issue of daily working hours has been kept open to de decided by the appropriate govts, obviously, through executive order. The Bill is yet to be passed. And in the present circumstances, the possibility of expanding the normal daily working hours from 8 hours to 12 hours through executive order or even by an Ordinance cannot be ruled out. This is nothing but the philistine game plan of the Govt at the centre of relieving the corporate/employers from the obligation of paying overtime and extracting extra hours of work from the workers without any extra cost. Reading the concerned provision of Code on Industrial Relations Bill  together with the present move of the Govt exposes this fraud and sinister game-plan.

None of the Central Trade Unions has yet been consulted on this sinister move of the Govt through the empowered group of bureaucrats, thus trampling underfoot the basic principles of tripartism and all talks and sermons of the Prime Minister and others to unitedly combat the challenging Corona pandemic situation has been proved to be a bluff.    

CITU condemns such a fraudulent move of the Govt and demands upon the Govt not to proceed on such disastrous path. CITU calls upon the working people irrespective of affiliations to unite and resist such retrograde exercise through united struggle both at national level and at workplace level too. 

Issued by
Tapan Sen
General Secretary

To
The Secretary to Govt of India
Ministry of Labour and Employment
Shram Shakti Bhawan
Rafi Marg, New Delhi 110001

Sub: Termination and wage cut of workers during lockdown period

Ref: Ref: My previous letters to you dated 27-3-2020, 28-3-2020, 5-4-2020 and 7-4-2020 regarding implementation of your own directive/advisory no vide DO no M-11011/08/2020 dated 20th March 2020. 

Dear Sir,

This is my fifth letter to you citing specific instances of violation of your directive/advisories dated 20th March on the “DOs & DON’TS” by the employers of both private and public sector establishments during the period of and consequent upon the lockdown for the Corona Pandemic in respect of non-termination of employment and payment of wages to the workers including contractual/casual workers.  Incidentally all the cases of such gross violations brought to your notice for action were in the establishments owned by the central govt and also those for whom central govt is the appropriate Govt.

All my previous four letters to you cited specific instances of violations of your directive/advisory by way of termination of employment of contract/casual workers in Banks in West Bengal, Border Roads Organisation and Hydro Power Project in Jammu & Kashmir, nonpayment of wages in Jute Mills and Tea Gardens in West Bengal, requesting your corrective intervention to enforce the directive/advisory issued by your office only to all concerned.

Now I draw your attention to the specific cases of wage cuts and termination of employment of workers of IT and ITES sector in Karnataka, Tamilnadu and West Bengal on the basis of information received till date:

  1. In Karnataka, in Bengaluru

Travel PD Co terminated one employee, Parallel Wireless in Bengaluru terminated 15 employees, Chumbak Design Private Ltd terminated 247 employees through forced resignation, Hula Infotainment terminated 30 employees, M/s Hem & RA T terminated 4 employees, M/s Mistefa terminated 60 employees through forced resignation,  IVT Co terminated 22 employees, M/s Flying Out terminated 90 employees and M/s Timken and M/s Classlap India Pvt Ltd invoked a 50% salary cut while not paying the March salary to all the employees yet.  

  1. In West Bengal, in Kolkata

In M/s Erevmax Technologies 80 per cent employees were sent on forced unpaid leave which tantamount to wage cut. M/s Soumak, PICON, EEMDEE Digitronics Pvt Ltd and Pace Computer Service have invoked wage cut on all the employees.

We urge upon you to please intervene for a strong corrective actionon both the cases brazen violation of your directive/advisory dated 20 March 2020.

Awaiting eagerly for your corrective interventions in all the cases of violations of your directive/advisory.

With regards,

Yours sincerely
Tapan Sen
General Secretary 

To 

The Prime Minister of India
New Delhi  

Sub: Your address to People on 3rd April 2020

Dear Prime Minister Sir,

We have been trying to draw your pointed attention to the severe problems of survival faced by the poorest sections of working people of the country, including the migrant workers following the lockdown. We have also suggested concrete urgent remedial and relief measures through our letters dated 24-3-2020 and 30-3-2020 addressed to you. All the central trade unions have also jointly represented to you on the same issues, vide letters dated 26-3-2020. The central trade unions have also written to the Union Labour Minister vide the joint letter dated 1-4-2020.

People, mainly the unorganised sector workers, migrant workers, agricultural workers and poor peasants expected that you would announce some concrete measures in your address to the nation on 3rd April. But we are sorry to state that they were totally disappointed and frustrated as you did not even acknowledge/recognise their survival issues, not to speak of announcing any ameliorative measures. The frontline health workers were highly disappointed that you were totally silent on ensuring personal protective gear and equipments for them. The country remains in the dark on the concrete measures that your government is taking to fight the Corona virus while you called upon the people to put off lights and light candles at 9.00 pm on 5th April to drive away the darkness caused by the Corona virus. We cannot but feel let down and crudely shocked at this insensitivity on the part of the highest authority in the government towards the sufferings of the poor working people of our country, who make the wheels of our country move. It is nothing but a cruel joke on the poor. We are sorry to state that your address has only conveyed the lack of seriousness on the part of your government about the serious threat posed by the Corona virus on the health of our people, the livelihood of the workers and in turn on our entire economy.

Different views are being expressed by the experts on the technical aspects of the call for countrywide switching off. The Powergrid Corporation of India Ltd has sent on 3-4-2020 itself to all its Regional Heads caution-message about possibility of grid-constraints and instability in view of your call of switching off lights on 5th April night. Federations of electricity workers and engineers also conveyed similar cautions to the Minister of Power. We request you to ascertain yourself the impact of switching off lights in all households in the country for 9 minutes, and whether that risk is worth-taking, in the interests of all concerned.  At the same time we urge upon you to please positively respond to the concrete measures demanded by the entire trade union movement to address the problems of the very survival of crores of working people including the migrant workers.

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

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions denounces Govt decision to drastically reduce the interest rates on small savings by around 140 basis points. This is a second-time reduction in interest rate on small savings within a span of less than one year, last being in June 2019. This will affect financially the mass of the populace, the superannuated, income-less several crores of senior citizens in particular who survive mainly on the meager return on their savings. It will also act as disincentive for generations of small savings of the common people through Govt-run savings instruments, which is an important source of resources for both the central and state governments for developmental work. This decision will also act in promoting the mutual funds and other speculative financial instruments being run by major big corporate, in collaboration with foreign financial agencies.

This cut in interest rates on small savings is being justified for sustaining govt revenue and contain the fiscal imbalance owing to economic slowdown and post lockdown situation which is nothing but a deceptive plea. .

The questions arise, why the has the Govt left, rather freed the ultra rich section from sharing the burden of so called fiscal-imbalance,–the so called high net-worth-individuals(HINI)-all from big corporate/business community –who have cornered more than 50 per cent of national wealth, wholly burdening the people?

It is these toiling people in industries, services and agriculture who creates wealth for the national economy, delivers resources to national exchequer shouldering the increasing and widening burden of indirect taxes and also income tax through deduction from their wages. And now they are being  fleeced further despite they being worst affected and sufferers of economic slowdown and also unavoidable lockdown phenomenon.

And the so called HINI from the big corporate/business community are favoured with tax concessions worth lakhs of crores of rupees in every budget including the latest one and yet they habitually evade their direct tax obligations after consuming all concessions, which is indirect and patronised pilferage from national exchequer. Only during 2014-2019, the unpaid direct tax accumulation from the same class has reached Rs 5.84 lakh crore as per official estimate. This very community of HINI is favoured with a rebate/waiver of more than Rs 2 lakh crore of their due bank-loans during last year.  Why should not they be charged additional tax/cess out of their huge accumulated wealth which are amassed through extraction and expropriation of the wealth created by the working people. Why should there not be stringent action of recovering from them, their unpaid accumulated direct tax dues?  

CITU denounces the brazenly anti-people discriminatory action of the Govt in slashing down the interest rate on small savings. CITU reiterates the demand of the entire trade union movement to differentially treat the interests rates on social security savings and small savings instruments from commercial interest rate, and maintain them at a higher level. CITU also demands restoration of the interest rates on all small savings.

Issued by
( Tapan Sen )
General Secretary

To

The Prime Minister of India
New Delhi

Sub: Food and Shelter for the Migrant Workers during lockdown period

Dear Prime Minister Sir,

We have earlier, on 24th March 2020, brought to your notice the serious problems of the unorganised sector workers, including migrant workers as a result of the country wide lockdown to contain the corona virus pandemic. We have urged upon you to ensure special arrangement for food, shelter and health checkups for these workers on a war footing.

Lakhs of unorganised sector workers including migrant workers have lost their income during this lock down period. It was shocking to see lakhs of migrant workers walking for hundreds of kilometres with their families to reach their native places. Many of these workers – from Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh etc- employed in various sectors were thrown out of their jobs. Having lost their income they have been starving for the last few days. Many were thrown out of their rented accommodation by the house owners. Their survival under threat, they were compelled to throw precaution to the air and come out in lakhs, defeating the very purpose of the lock down and putting at risk their own health as well as the health of their fellow citizens. In many places the police have been resorting to measures like lathi charge and booking of cases against these hapless migrants, treating them as criminals. These workers who have been playing vital role in the economy are being treated without any sensitivity for their sufferings for no fault of theirs.

This shows that,  even on the seventh day of the lockdown the directions/ advisories issued by your government have not been working on the ground. The Union Home Secretary’s DO no 40 -3/2020 – DM-I (A) dated 29th March 2020 to all Chief Secretaries of the states, as a follow up to the DO dated 24th March 2020 states that “MHA has issued another order today for strict implementation … to stop the movement of migrants and providing them with quarantine facilities, shelters, food etc and ensuring payment of wages and non eviction by their landlords... Its strict implementation need to be ensured.”

Hence we urge upon the government of India to

  • Ensure, through statutorily enforceable measures and proactive enforcement and not by just advisories, that all workers including migrant workers are not removed from their employment and are paid their wages and that they are not vacated or forced to pay rent by the house owners,
  • Ensure strict compliance in coordination with the state governments of the directions that migrant workers are provided shelter and food; nobody should go hungry
  • Ensure health checkups and medical provisions at all the camps
  • Expand testing facilities, strengthen health infrastructure by providing adequate isolation beds, quarantine wards, trained staff with proper protective gear

I request your personal and urgent intervention to ensure the above to prevent mass starvation and loss of lives in our country. With regards,

Yours sincerely,
( Tapan Sen )
General Secretary

The Prime Minister of India
New Delhi

Dear Prime Minister Sir, 

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and the entire trade union movement of the country urges upon your urgent intervention in certain crucial aspects of addressing the situation in the country since Corona virus pandemic, including its prevention and containment. 

People in general are responding to the various measures so far announced by the government including the lockdowns in various states. However the government of India is yet to draw a comprehensive plan to meet the situation that is aggravating further. 

We request you to expand testing facilities and ensure availability of testing kits from all authorised sources including those approved by the National Institute of Virology with appropriate and stringent supervision. It is also necessary to strengthen the countrywide public health network by ensuring testing facilities at least in all district hospitals, provision of adequate safety equipment including masks and other protective gear for the staff and provision of isolation beds and quarantine facilities. The private hospitals should be directed to provide free medical services in terms of testing, prevention and cure. 

Large sections of workers, particularly in the unorganised sector comprising around 93% of workers in the country, will be losing their incomes in the face of the unavoidable restrictions due to shut downs. The government needs to ensure that their jobs and incomes are protected and also that they are provided with money to meet their immediate daily requirements. The MSME sector which employs large numbers of workers and which is already suffering from the economic slowdown should be supported by the government through concessional loans and moratorium on their existing loans. 

Notwithstanding the appeals made by the governments regarding protection of livelihood and earnings of the workers affected by the preventive restrictions, shutdowns and lockdowns, situation at the ground level is altogether different. The entire burden of shutdown/ lockdown and reduction of production, services and other economic activities are being sought to be transferred on the working people. This is resulting in the loss of income and livelihood for the informal workers including migrant workers, contract, casual, temporary workers in both the public and private sectors, the domestic workers, vendors. Many private enterprises have announced cut in wages, unpaid forced leave, retrenchment etc. This means starvation, deprivation and destitution for the workers putting their survival and the survival of their family members at stake. 

In such a situation, only appeal to the employers not to resort to retrenchment or not to deduct wages of their workers, will not suffice. A strong statutory as well as enforceable arrangement needs to be put in place by the Govt urgently to prevent loss of employment, livelihood and earnings of the working people. 

Hence, CITU demands that the Central Government should announce a large-scale scheme to be implemented through the states to protect the livelihoods and provide income support to the most vulnerable.

We request the government to announce statutorily enforceable measures to be directly enforced by the governments at the centre and states, without further delay. These should, inter alia, include:

  1. Protecting the livelihood and earnings of workers compelling the private business, along with the PSU management to ensure protection of jobs, earnings and social security benefits both for their regular workers as well as the contract and casual workers in the face of ongoing down-sizing and even shut-downs
  2. Ensure transfer of Rs 5000/- for the unorganized/informal sector workers aged up to 25 years and Rs 10000/- to those above 25 years on a monthly basis through their bank/jan-dhan accounts
  3. Increase in the pension for the EPS pensioners at the minimum level
  4. Also the workers directly affected by corona virus and forced to stay away from work should be granted paid leave by the employers.
  5. No wage-cut, adjustment of leave etc should be allowed for shut-down or down-sizing
  6. Free rations to informal sector workers with the huge stock of food grains at Govt-disposal
  7. Strict action against hoarders who utilise the situation leading to price rise of essential commodities including food items, medicines, sanitisers etc
  8. Separate arrangement should be made to supply mid day meal to the residence of the entitled students in view of the temporary closure of the schools. This will also save the jobs of the mid-day-meal workers besides benefiting the students.
  9. Special safety arrangement to be ensured for health-workers including the ASHAs, second ANMS and other scheme workers in the health department, anganwadi employees etc engaged in providing health and other services in different ways.
  10. Increase in remuneration of the ASHA and other scheme workers in health services on a monthly basis
  11. Strengthen public sector pharmaceutical production entities for production of raw materials, testing kits and medicines including sanitisers and other implements.

We request you to respond to the above minimum demands of the working people with the necessary urgency and on priority basis.

With regards,
Yours sincerely, 

(Tapan Sen )
General Secretary

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) expressed serious concern over the Corona virus spread in the country and its severe impact on the society and on the lives and livelihood of the working people who are the most vulnerable victims of the situation.

While preventive measures being announced by the Govts from time to time and being cooperated and responded to by the people in general, the Central Govt is yet to draw a comprehensive plan to meet the gradually aggravating situation in all its facets, right from  having elaborate testing facilities with appropriate and stringent supervision covering the entire territory,  countrywide wider-public funded health care net work and also to ensuring  protection against loss of livelihood of the working people in the face of  unavoidable preventive restrictions resulting shutdowns, lay-offs, downsizing of economic activities etc jeopardizing human survival of crores of toiling people. 

In fact the neoliberal policies of the Govt directly affecting the soundness and coverage of govt-funded health care and other social services in favour of private business, has left the Govt virtually unprepared in meeting the challenge and even track comprehensively the people affected by the virus owing to very limited testing facilities compared to the size of the country as well as the population, not to speak of other elaborate preventive as well as curative interventions. Increasing dependence on import for essential pharmaceutical products/raw material is going to add to the crisis further, if not addressed through urgent remedial measure.

On the other hand, owing to scare as well as preventive restrictions, working people, both in town and villages are becoming the worst sufferers. Down-sizing and shutdowns of production, services and other economic activities  owing to restriction as well as drastic reduction of business have started  taking place and the entire burden of the same are being sought to be transferred on the working people resulting in loss of livelihoods and earnings in a big way. Informal sector workers (93 millions as per official estimate), migrant workers, casual and temporary workers, contract workers of both private and public sector are the worst affected. Already in numerous private sector entities, cut in wages, unpaid forced leave, retrenchment of the casual and contract workers started taking place. Crores of daily-wage workers in the informal sector suddenly saw their livelihood opportunities vanished.  Loss of jobs means virtual starvation, destitution and deprivation of basic health care to them putting their human survival at stake along with their dependent family members.

In such a situation the Govt must expand and augment its health care network with increased public investment and also compel the private sector health business to join the initiative to render both the preventive and curative services free.                                         

The Govt also must come out with clear cut people-oriented revival plan for the economy as a whole with increased public investment and at the same time put in place sound protection measures for the working people against loss of livelihood being fanned by the corona situation. It should not keep itself concerned over only bailing out the private financial institutions and big corporate but seriously consider protection of MSME, small retail trade and street vendors through concessional and moratorium facilities.

CITU demands that the Central Govt should announce a large-scale scheme to be implemented through the states to rescue livelihoods and provide income support to the most vulnerable.  Govts, both at the centre and the states must directly intervene without further delay

  1. to protect the livelihood and earnings compelling the private business, along with the PSU management to ensure protection of jobs, earnings and social security benefits both for their regular workers as well as the contract and casual workers in the face of ongoing down-sizing and even shut-downs
  2. Also the workers directly affected by corona virus and forced to stay away from work should be granted paid leave by the employers.
  3. No wage- cut, adjustment of leave etc should be allowed for shut-down or down-sizing of work
  4. Free rations to informal sector workers with the huge stock of food grains at  Govt-disposal
  5. Separate arrangement should be made to supply mid day meal to the residence of the entitled students in view of the temporary closure of the schools. This will also save the jobs of the mid-day-meal workers besides benefiting the students.
  6. Special safety arrangement to be ensured for health-workers engaged in serving the corona-affected or suspects
  7. Strengthen public sector pharmaceutical production entities for production of raw materials and medicines including sanitisers and other implements.

Issued by
Tapan Sen
General Secretary

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