Srinagar: Alleging that labour laws were not in tune with the interests of workers in organized and unorganized sector, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) State President and lone CPI (M) MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami urged J&K government to come up with a comprehensive employment policy to guarantee employment avenues to youth and harness talented human resource.
Mr Tarigami alleged that labour laws across the state were being brazenly flouted.
The destitute engaged in government and private sector as ad-hoc, casual, seasonal, need based, contingency paid workers and contractuals are facing the brunt of labour laws being brazenly flouted. Isolated efforts cant be effective, be united and bold enough to safeguard the democratic rights of the workers and defeat the anti worker policies of successive governments, said Tarigami while addressing a convention here today on the May Day.
He said May Day was born out of struggle and is the only event that transcends all divisions of religion, race, nationality or any other prejudice of the past amongst the human beings.
ASHAs under NHM, Anganwadi workers & Helpers, CPWs, Mid Day Meal Workers, MGNREGA employees, Contractuals, Construction Workers, Need Based, Seasonal, Casual Labouers, Daily Wagers are neglected and their long pending demands are not met, he said, adding the traditional artisans and weavers also reap little benefits of their hard toil and even were badly hit in the last floods are awaiting rehabilitation.
Drastic cuts on allocations by the central government in the welfare schemes like ICDS, Mid-day-meal, NHM with the motive of finally doing away with such pro-people schemes and programmes altogether has desperately disillusioned the human resource working tirelessly and being meagerly paid under these schemes, he said.
Observing that labour laws in the state are not in tune with the interests of workers in organized and unorganized sector and there was imminent need to amend and update these, he said the (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Act, 1996 to protect the rights of labourers working in construction projects has failed to benefit them.
The Building and Other Construction Workers Act 1996 too has been a failure, the CITU president observed.
High levels of unemployment being a cause of serious concern have not been addressed seriously by the successive governments thereby putting our youth in a state of despair and worrisome. Widespread under-employment is also gaining momentum as highly qualified and skillful youth are doing low end and unskilled jobs, he said.
Accusing the government of not being in a mood to take measures to maximize employment opportunities; Tarigami lamented the government demanding a comprehensive employment policy in the state to guarantee much employment avenues under public and private sectors and harnessing the talented human resource.
Paying rich tributes to Zaldagar martyrs of 1865, Tarigami said that they laid the edifice of a struggle against the exploitation and atrocities on the artisans, a prominent section of working class. He said that the shawlbaff protest launched at Zaldagar against the ruling class has given vent to numerous movements of working class which are awaiting successful culminations.
He said that the social security benefits like pension, provident fund, health insurance etc. are hard won rights of the working class secured through decades of struggle. These gains are now being reversed through privatization of pension funds, provident funds and cuts in subsidies and welfare benefits and such measures being implemented across the world today specifically target the social security benefits in order to pass on the burden of the economic crisis to the working people.
He observed that the subsidies on food, fuel and fertilizers meant for the common man is targeted to be brought down to the mere 1.75 per cent of GDP, while as 5 per cent of GDP is being provided for tax defaulters and moneyed class.
Warning against the dangers of the divisive forces, trying to divide the working class on caste, religion, regional lines, he stressed the importance of the trade unions addressing the specific issues of the socially oppressed sections of the society to unify the working class.
Meanwhile, the convention adopted resolutions, including demanding implementation of Minimum Wages Act of Rs 18,000 per month, Social security benefits like pension, gratuity, provident fund, maternity benefits and regularization of Anganwadi workers/helpers, ASHA workers, adhoc/contractual/daily wagers/need based workers. Comprehensive policy to tackle the alarming unemployment problem in the State. Concrete measures to curb price rise. Protection of trade union rights.
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