RESOLUTIONS PASSED IN THE 19TH TRIENNIAL NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF BHARATIA MAZDOOR SANGH (BMS)
RESOLUTIONS PASSED IN THE 19TH TRIENNIAL NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF BHARATIA MAZDOOR SANGH (BMS)
RESOLUTION NO. 1
GOVERNMENT SHOULD WITHDRAW THE ANTI WORKER PROVISIONS IN THE NEW LABOUR CODES.
The biggest challenge in the organised sector in India today is that nearly 80% of the labour in many industries are contract labour. They work in highly exploitative conditions. The new Code has raised the threshold limit of contract labour law provisions up to 50 workers. Thus, majority of the contract workers in the country are losing all the existing legal protections. The law prohibiting engaging of contract labour in jobs of permanent nature is also withdrawn. Even the supreme court direction on principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ is also not incorporated. Threshold of standing orders law, factories law, motor transport workers law and working journalists and non-journalists’ law are raised. Even the inter-state migrant workers, who are facing pathetic conditions, also lost coverage of law in units up to 10 or more workers. Migrant workers, contract labour, factory workers, building and other construction workers, journalists, beedi workers, domestic workers etc. are badly affected by the new Codes. The provision for prior permission for lay off, retrenchment and closure is exempted in units up to three hundred workers. Government is empowered to cancel awards passed by Tribunals after a long legal battle, which provision is already declared by Supreme Court as unconstitutional. The danger of bureaucrats replacing parliament in making changes in law is too much apparent in all the new Codes, which PSCL (Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour) also has pointed out. State and central governments as well as bureaucrats are empowered to exempt any industry from the purview of labour laws.
There is clear attempts to diminish the role of trade unions by interfering with the internal matters of trade unions, prohibiting strike etc. There is a new provision to monopolise single union with 51% membership and eliminate all other unions. Codes have not incorporated a recommendation of PSCL to prescribe a time limit of 45 days for registering a trade union. It was a demand of all the central trade unions together because in many places government machinery had refused to register new unions. Because of such mutilations consequent to the reforms without a vision, industrial peace is likely to be a casualty. We have the example of the unfortunate incidents in Maruti Manesar where workers’ rights and trade union activities were restrained along with highly exploitative working conditions. Entire country is now being pushed to Maruti Manesar-like lawless situation by the provisions of the new labour codes.
Healthy employer-employee relation is important if India needs to compete in the new world economic order. But unfortunately, India is witnessing a continuing manufacturing slowdown even before the Covid days; and when our policy advisors failed to find any effective solution to address it, as usual they turn to mutilate the labour laws as the only way out. The entire burden of our economic slowdown is cast on the shoulders of the workers who really are the builders of the nation. The so-called advisors and policy makers in Government are busy creating lawless areas in labour sector.
BMS wants the change of law beneficial to both worker and industry. BMS had termed the Code on Wages historic and revolutionary since the last worker in the country is being covered by law on minimum wages for the first time. BMS had welcomed the good provisions in the Codes, but the bad provisions have eclipsed them. None of the important objections raised by BMS and other trade unions as well as the recommendations of PSCL (Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour) in favour of workers are considered in the revised drafts. Some important changes in the Code like withdrawing the coverage of standing orders in industries up to 300 workers are not even discussed in the consultation process; which will be a violation of ILO convention 144 ratified by the Indian Parliament. Tripartite consultation process has become a mockery. All the rights of workers which we enjoy now are result of long struggle by Indian trade union movement and visionary statesmen in the Government like Dr. Ambedkar. In such sorry state of affairs now created, BMS is compelled to resort to agitations to protect the rights of workers.
Hence the 19th National conference of BMS held virtually demands the Government to:
- immediately withdraw the antiworker provisions in the new Labour Codes,
- Call consultation meeting with BMS and other trade unions to make the Labour Codes beneficial to both worker and industry.
BMS also resolves the following action programs:
- Hold country wide “warning week” programs from 10 to 16th of October as a part of preparatory activities,
- Hold nationwide protests on 28th of October,
- If the Govt is not ready to hear the voice of workers, hold a long and continuous agitation thereafter including national level strikes to protect right to strike and other labour rights.
RESOLUTION NO. 2
BMS WELCOMES THE SUPREME COURT DECISION SCRAPPING GUJRAT LABOUR REFORMS
The National Conference of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh held virtually which started on 2nd of October, 2020 welcomes the Supreme Court decision scrapping Gujrat state amendments to Factories Act. Central and state governments need to learn respecting rule of law in labour sector. The Supreme Court has endorsed the BMS view that industrial development does not mean destruction of labour rights. It has also identified the role of labour as the backbone of the economy, which is the view expressed by BMS. This is an eye opener to all other State Governments distorting settled labour laws and denying humane working conditions in the name of “Reforms”. The contagion has spread to central Government also in the last-minute mutilation of Labour Codes. Various state governments have thoughtlessly indulged in “ordinance raj” on salary cuts, suspension on labour laws, reduction of working hours, amendments to factories act and contract labour laws. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujrat governments have taken the ordinance route to suspend labour laws in their states. Kerala Government also took ordinance route to compulsorily deduct salary during the covid days, to supersede the Kerala High court order passed against such deduction. Similarly, Kerala Government has brought anti-worker ordinances changing laws on shops and commercial establishments and headload workers. Nearly 14 states have increased working hours from 8 hours up to 12 hours, out of which some have withdrawn it after some months. Such changes area against fundamental principles, fundamental rights and directive principles of our constitution. They are also against the international standards set by ILO. That is why supreme court has easily scrapped the Gujarat “reforms”. ILO has already written to Indian government to stop such misdeeds. The uncivilised way of handling labour laws is an attempt to make India a hub of exploitation. Human element is lost in the mad rush for inviting investment.
Hence this conference demands the central and state Governments to stop the brutal way of amending labour laws, desist from indulging in “ordinance raj” in labour sector and respect the views expressed by social organisations.
RESOLUTION NO. 3
RESOLUTION NO. 4
REVIEW OF ALL PENSION SCHEMES
Bharatiya Mazdoor sangh demands the Govt. of India to review all the pension schemes in the country. Pension is to be treated as fundamental right of an employee after long service rendered to the organizations. The Constitution of India envisages every citizen the right to live. BMS propose to review of all Pension Scheme existing in the country.
Central Government Employees Pension Scheme: For Central Govt. Employees during the year 1972 a pension scheme under CCS Rules was introduced which is based on the General Provident Fund (GPF) contributions. Prior to that, there was a provision for the contributory Provident Fund (CPF), which used to be basis of the pension and the employees are paid 50% percent on last pay drawn as pension.
New Pension Scheme (NPS 2004): The Government of India in place of old Pension Scheme introduced a New Pension Scheme for Central Government Employees who are recruited on or after 01.01.2004. The contribution to the New Pension Scheme is 10% of the monthly salary deducted from the employees and 10% matching contribution by the Government of India. In the year 2019 the present NDA Government increased its contribution by another 4% of the Monthly salary totaling to 14%. The 60% of the total accumulations in to the new pension scheme can be withdrawn by the employees on superannuation and the remaining 40% of accumulations will be invested in the market as per the guidelines by the Government of India, the returns from the market will decide the quantum of pension.
Pension Schemes for LIC/Banks/CPSUs : The pension scheme for LIC employees is almost on the similar lines of Pension Schemes of Government employees as existed prior to 01.01.2004 which enables the LIC employee to receive a pension of about 50% of their last pay drawn decides linking this basic pension to the raise in consumer price index. Some of the Banks like State Bank of India have a pension scheme which is considered to be more beneficial than the prevailing pension schemes in the
financial sector, the pension amount is approximately 50% of the last pay drawn. Some of the cash rich Central Public Sectors (CPSUs) which are categorized Maharatnas are having separate Pension Scheme with the contributions both from management and employees in addition to employees Pension Scheme 1995.
Employees Pension Scheme 1995 (EPS 1995):The employees pension scheme came into effect from 16.11.1995, this was the long pending demand of all the central trade unions. The Employees Pension Scheme 1971 (FPS) was abolished and all the funds were transferred to employees pension fund. The basis of working of EPS 1995 is “Defined Contribution – Defined benefit scheme” with the funding of Employees share of 8.33% and 1.16% by the Govt. (Limited to 15,000/- w.e.f. 01.09.2014) of monthly wages of the employees. The Scheme is not applicable who is recruited on or after 01.09.2014 drawing more than 15,000/- of monthly wages.
After lot of struggles by B.M.S the present NDA government in the year 2014 has increased the pension amount under EPS-95 to Rs. 1000/- per month because most of the pensioners earlier used to get very low amount of Rs. 50 to Rs. 100 per month only.
Pension Schemes for Unorganized Sector Workers: The Government of India has enounced a pension scheme for unorganized Sector workers and the contributions ranging from Rs.55/-to Rs.200/- per month depending upon their age ex: If a worker joined the scheme at the age of 18 years then he/she has to contribute Rs. 55/- similarly the worker who joins the scheme at the age of 29 years to has to contribute Rs. 100/- and so on. Under this scheme the minimum pension after attaining the age of 60 years is Rs. 3000/-
Bharatheya Mazdoor Sangh is of the firm opinion that pension is a right on part of employees and the Government of India has to contribute generously to the pension scheme so that retired employee at old age can
live peacefully and when an unorganized sector workmen gets a minimum of Rs.3000/- what is the rational behind declaring Rs.1000/- as minimum pension to the EPS 1995 pensioners.
In view of the above it is demanded from the government which is as follows:
- The Pension schemes implemented in the country shall be reviewed and reformed holistically.
- The pension amount for the employees of every sector shall be 50% of the employees last drawn salary or the minimum declared salary, whichever is higher.
- Till such a decision is taken, a minimum pension of Rs.5,000/- per month shall be declared under EPS-95
- The new pension scheme (NPS) introduced to the central government employees recruited after 01.01.2004to be scraped immediediately.
- All pension schemes shall be linked to the cost of living index
- All the pensioners shall be covered by Medical scheme .
- The Government of India should support the Pension Scheme from the budget so that the pension schemes funds are sustained for a longer period.
RESOLUTION NO. 5
Many painful incidents of Covid-19 pandemic will find mention in history. But some memories will be unerasable. Away from the eyes of the administration, government, and the media, there is a section of migrant workers, which is neglected even in the labour sector. There are about eight crore migrant workers both in organised and unorganised sectors.
After the imposition of lockdown, when the streets and markets were human-less industrial areas and highways of the country were full of people. This scene was witnessed not in several states but in every state. These people were migrant workers.
Since the government did not have an actual number of migrant workers, they emerged as a big problem of the government agencies immediately after the imposition of lockdown. The governments had to make different arrangements for them in hurry—starting special trains, free distribution of ration, the security of the people walking on roads, etc. Initially, the Central Government allocated Rs 1.77 lakh crore for it. Later, it declared a special package of Rs 20 lakh crore and the migrant workers had much for them in the package.
The Government of Uttar Pradesh, by constituting the Migrant Workers Commission, started registration of them. The governments of Madhya Pradesh and Odisha also took some good initiatives, which is a matter of satisfaction. Different social and religious bodies also made arrangements for these workers. This is a fact that the workers, who have been key contributors in the development process of the country after Independence, did not get proper shelter and meals.
Most of them are casual, contract, or daily wage workers. They worked in organised sector from big, medium to small industries to brick kilns, construction industry, highways, rail line building, etc. In the unorganised sector, they drove auto-rickshaw and taxi, cycle-rickshaw, worked as street vendors, hotel workers, shop workers, loading-unloading staff or domestic workers, etc.
Many of them find work only for six to eight months. There are very few people who get work throughout the year. They do not get leave with salary. They are also unable to keep their families with them due to limited income, the uncertainty of work, and family reasons.
They have to face so many hardships in these circumstances. Some problems are as follows:
- A single person does not get a house on low rent.
- They are unable to get the benefit of ration card, as they stay away from their families. Hence, they have to purchase ration at higher prices.
- Many workers are dependent on hotels or ‘dhabas’ for breakfast and meals, which is not only unhealthy but unaffordable too.
- Since there is the uncertainty of work, they are without work many times.
- They do not get the benefit of various government welfare schemes due to lack of registration.
- They also have to face exploitation and atrocities on the part of police many times.
Therefore, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) demands at its 19th national convention that:
- The Interstate Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act 1979 should be made effective by adequately amending it.
- There should be an arrangement for the registration of migrant workers at the national level and they should be issued multi-purpose identity cards.
- Arrangements with the facilities of water, electricity, and toilets on low charges should be made for the migrant workers.
- Migrant workers should be issued ration cards or they should be provided with ration through Migrant Worker Identity Cards.
- They should be covered under different types of social security schemes including health insurance, life insurance, pension, etc.
- They should be ensured unemployment allowance in case they do not get employment.
- The present relief measures declared for the migrant workers should continue till the coronavirus tragedy continues, and the situation is completely normalised.
- Large-scale migration is the outcome of imbalanced industrial development. Hence, a balanced and holistic policy should be formulated for industrial development.
RESOLUTION NO. 6