All India Trade Union Congress
AITUC Bhawan: 35-36, DDU Marg, Rouse Avenue, New Delhi – 110002
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The following statement was issued to the Press by Com. Amarjeet Kaur, General secretary AITUC today on 20th April 2020.
AITUC terms new guidelines to start economic activities as unplanned unprepared exercise
Engaging stranded workers without ensuring their safety, health and basic minimum needs is another inhuman exercise
AITUC deplores the latest order from the Home Secretary dated 19.04.2020 in regard to movement of stranded labour within the state/UT for starting the movement of labour for the work in the permitted areas from 20th April without even considering for their immediate demands for ration/ food/ water and medications etc.
The stranded workers have been demanding to facilitate their journey to their homes within the state or to the other states to the place of their domicile. They have been in distress, their families have been suffering as they have been failed by the central government because of the sudden lockdown without giving time to join their families. Now with the decision of the government easing of lockdown in certain areas with an objective to start some construction activities and other industrial activities, which are once again unplanned and without any preparations, which lacks any concern for these suffering stranded workers. These steps are less for the economic benefit of these workers rather are under the pressure from the big builders lobby and other big business houses. The approach of the government is to succumb to these pressures rather than looking at the immediate basic needs of these workers who are generally not paid the promised wages, the safety & health measures are not met appropriately and the labour law violations are a common practice at the work places.
Under umbrella of fighting Covid-19, the target scapegoats are workers for lockdown as well as now in the name of beginning of economic activities. There is no guarantee for their safe accommodation, wages, safety measures, regular health checkups etc. The talks of increasing working hours from 8 to 12 hours, amending the laws have already been opposed by the trade unions. Now some of the employers’ organizations have written to the union ministry of labour to prohibit formation of unions. These attempts would be negation of the hard won rights of the labour through their battle for last 150 years. The trade unions are already apprehensive of the codification of labor laws which desire to contain such measures.
AITUC demands that all those workers who wish to go to their homes and join their families be respected for their choice and appropriate arrangements be made for them even if nonstop trains and buses have to be arranged keeping physical distancing as a norm and testing and quarantine for those who may need in their villages before they join their families. AITUC further asserted that the government cannot treat the workers as their subjects/slaves to follow their commands unquestioned.
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