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India caught in RSS labour protests

India caught in RSS labour protests

The RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has found common ground with other trade unions this year. It will go on a one-day protest outside Parliament during the winter session in November against unequal pay for workers and disinvestment of the public sector units.

However, the BMS will not join a similar protest called by 10 other trade unions during the winter session.

“We have decided to go for a ‘March to Delhi’ on November 17 to demand equal pay for similar workers and social security for all workers and protest against disinvestment of the public sector units,” BMS general secretary Virjesh Upadhyay said.

Last week, 10 trade unions announced a three-day dharna from November 9 outside Parliament against rising unemployment and the Centre’s “inaction” on their demands. The decision was taken at a convention on August 8, to which the BMS was not invited. It was attended by representatives of the INTUC, the AITUC, the HMS, the CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, UTUC and the LPF and a federation of employees representing banking, pharmaceuticals, petroleum and construction sectors.

“The Central and State governments are disobeying contract labour regulations which mandate equal pay for a similar work. Further, the logic behind disinvestment was to create a fund to finance sick PSUs. However, the government seems to be moving in a different direction,” Mr. Upadhyay said.

Interestingly, the resolution adopted by 10 unions at the convention also highlighted issues of equal pay and benefits for equal work for contract workers, disinvestment and universal social security.

Asked why the BMS was not joining the other trade unions in their protest, Mr. Upadhyay said: “The nomenclature of the protest and the ideologies are different. Historically, we have been together, separated, then came together and now are separate.”

The Hindu

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