Join the 3 July United Trade Union Action
Where are Our Jobs? Where are our Wages?
Today, 3 months into the lockdown, more than 1 in every 4 workers has lost their job. More than 12.2 crore workers are unemployed. This is four times more unemployed workers than before the lockdown. Assuming a family size of just 4 implies that over 44 crore people or more than 1 out of every 3 people in the total population of 139 crores in the country are directly affected by this job loss and hence wage loss. This does not even include those who do not have full time employment. The largest numbers to lose their jobs are at the lowest end of the wage ladder. Tens of lakhs of self-employed workers were literally pushed off the roads and hence out of livelihood.
Apart from those who lost their jobs, no one really knows how many workers did not get paid their wages. Nor do we know how many workers were paid partially, small amounts and nowhere near their full wages. Even in many large establishments – both in industry and in services – contract and other irregular workers have not been paid their wages, including ASHA, Anganwadi and Mid-Day Meal workers, who have been at the forefront of the struggle against the virus, have not been paid by the government. Rather than defending its March 29 order that directed the employers to pay full wages, the government in the Supreme Court advocated bilateral negotiations between employers and employees on wage payments and jobs which the supine court translated into its interim order effectively negating the 29th order. In early April the ILO indicated that 40 crore workers in India ran the risk of being pushed into poverty. Situation has been only deteriorating since then. The government has responded to this by increasing the allocation of MNREGA by 400 crores and increasing the daily wage under it to Rs. 202 from Rs. 182 – this it is still less than half the lowest minimum wage in the country. Hence the MNREGA will at best keep families in poverty. Taking advantage of the pandemic, Labour Codes that are meant to control workers rather than regulate employers, are being pushed to dismantle whatever remains of workers rights. The pandemic is being used by the government to intensify the drive to privatize crucial sectors of the economy while sharpening its attacks on the democratic rights of the people.
The burden of the economic crisis that predates the pandemic has been conveniently passed on to the back of the working class in a collaborative effort of the employers and government. Under these conditions it is necessary for the working class in the country to put up stiff resistance to the growing alround attacks on the working class.This is the time to fight back and win our rights and more. As part of this fight back we call upon the workers of the country to Join the July 3rd Action on the demands on the basis of which we had already taken up programmes.
Pradeep Gautam Mody Thangaraj Sanjay Singhvi
IFTU NTUI NDLF TUCI
Vijay Kumar Sudipta