Rework Shifts to Ensure Jobs To All Available Workers!
No Wage Cuts, No Job Loss!
As all industries and establishments in non containment zones open tomorrow, many State govts are issuing notices for a 12 hour work schedule for the next three months for their establishments. Punjab and Rajasthan have specified that workers on such shifts will be paid at overtime rates for the four extra hours of work each day, six days a week.
We remind all Govts that the Central Govt had ordered ensuring and many state govts too had assured that all workers who were working in establishments just prior to lockdown, whether as regular workers, contract or daily wage, must be paid wages for the entire period of lockdown till their workplaces open and there would be no retrenchments, layoffs and lockouts. Wages have been paid to some extent only for March and hardly anywhere for April. Workmen are unable to pursue complaints, there are no records of workers and state Labour Depts are not acting, just collecting complaints. IFTU demands that apart from compulsorily paying these old dues, all establishments must give duty to all workers who are reporting back to work, decreasing the working hours per worker but giving the earlier drawn wage while increasing the number of shifts if that is necessary for physical distancing to be maintained. Masks must be provided to all workers for their protection. In addition, all workers who have gone home etc and are unable to report for duty, should continue to be paid their wages for next three months. or till one month after normal transportation is restored, whichever is later. It is the Central Govt which must ensure that the state where they were working ensures this payment to them. In this entire context, the notifications for 4 hours overtime by states are a cruel and clever move to heighten exploitation under cover of pandemic. State govts are not even able to ensure that minimum wages are paid to workers even in non pandemic times!
IFTU National Committee Demands that Labour Machinery of every state government move to ensure wage payment to all workers of all establishments for the months of April and March. Central Govt must ensure these payments, even making payments directly and for this the Budget to cope with the pandemic must be increased to 10 % of GDP. We reinforce that nowhere should the pandemic be misused to try to smuggle in a 12 hour work day for a wage of 8 hours or to retrench workers. We call on all units of IFTU to use all possible methods and to join hands with all other unions in the fight and to forge widest possible unity to defend the wage and rights of the working class.
Migrant workers everywhere are still existing in horrible conditions without food, even the possibility of distancing and without being given masks. They are desperate to go home, laws are being flouted and the ‘PM Cares ‘ is not for the massive migrant working class which keeps the country running, constructing, working. Railway and bus fares are being extracted from them by govts in the name of ‘sending home’; host Govts have failed to give food to them and natal Govts are refusing to fund their return!.Migrant, contract temporary and casual workers are not recipients of the avowed funds being spent on ‘people’. The number of trains are but a drop in the ocean. IFTU National Committee demands that the Central Govt must coordinate, fund and ensure hourly ‘shramik trains’ between state capitals and centres so that all migrant workers who want to go home can be moved within the shortest possible period. They have already waited for over a month in semi starvation. IFTU NC calls on all IFTU units to raise the fight for the right of these workers to reach home at cost of Govts, to pressurize state govts to bring back workers of their state and to spread scientific facts among people so that returning workers do not face social ostracism. For this we must unite with all fighting forces and raise the issues with govts using all possible methods of struggle.
General Secretary President
Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU)
Dated 3rd May 2020