'We are worried for the workers because in the private sector, jobs are not secure, there is no decent work condition and there is no social security.'
'That's why we are opposing the economic policies of this government.'
The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, the trade union affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, is angry.
The BMS plans a national agitation against the Narendra Damodardas Modi government's economic policies.
BMS General Secretary Binoy Kumar Sinha wrote to Modi, expressing the trade union's concern.
"Being the largest trade union of the country, we asked the government to review their economic policies like privatisation, monetisation, corporatisation, etc. We tried our best to meet the prime minister and the concerned ministers, but they don't see it important to discuss the issues with us, a major stakeholder of the economy," Sinha tells Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier. The first of a two-part interview:
Your letter to the PM says you are left with no option but agitate against the government's policies. What are the policies you are against and dissatisfied with?
Being the largest and a responsible trade union of the country, we had asked the government to review their economic policies like privatisation, monetisation, corporatisation, etc.
In fact, we tried our best to meet the prime minister and the concerned ministers, but they don't see it important to discuss the issues with us, a major stakeholder of the economy.
That's why we demand that there should be a discussion with all the stakeholders, and the government also should look at alternative economic processes.
Alternative processes like?
Like diversification, joint ventures, co-operatives, etc...
We are worried about three issues that concern the workers although we are not worried about the transfer of ownership.
One, decent working conditions and job security.
Second is, wage security, and the third concern is the social security of the workers.
You mean, all this is at stake because of privatisation and corporatisation?
Yes..yes.. We do agree that the private sector has a great role to play in the economy of the country.
But the government has failed to ensure the implementation of labour laws.
You must also remember that implementation is the responsibility of the state governments, but none of the state governments are serious about it.
Do you blame the state governments more?
Didn't you see the condition of the migrant workers during the pandemic? There is a Migrant Labour Act 1979, but no state government has taken it seriously. The result was what we saw last year.
Then, in the PSUs, more than 80% of the workers are made casual workers, contract workers and outsourced workers even though there is the Contract Labour Abolition Act,1970.
It means there are Acts, but no state government is serious about implementing the Acts.
That's why the central government should ensure the implementation of all the Labour Acts.
We are worried for the workers because in the private sector, jobs are not secure, there is no decent work condition and there is no social security.
That's why we are opposing the economic policies of this government.
The 2021 Oxfam India report says, when the number of billionaires rose from 102 to 142 last year, the income of 84% of the households came down...
It is a fact, and we agree with this. This government prefers only ease of doing business, they are not interested in ease of living.
That why they have gone for the Labour Reforms.
We wish the government did bureaucratic reforms first, and not labour reforms.
The government treats the NITI Aayog as the think-tank, but those who advise the government have no concern for the development of the country.
Why do you blame the bureaucracy alone? Is the political class not responsible for teconomic policies?
Actually, the political governments are guests; the real government is the bureaucracy.
The political class is dependent on the bureaucracy.
So, unless and until bureaucratic reforms take place, you will not get the results of any other economic reforms.
- Part II: 'Workers are migrating even today'
Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com