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Thursday 7 May 2020

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No. BMS/A-40/99/2020                                                                                  Date: 06-05-2020

Sri Santosh Kumar Gangwar,
Honourable Union Minister for Labour & Employment,
Government of India, New Delhi

Sub: Video Conference with Central trade Unions on 6th May2020-Issues related to workers & Employees- BMS submission –Requested to resolve immediately – regarding
Respected Sir,

       BMS conveys its sincere thanks to you particularly and your Ministry in general for calling an exclusive meeting with Central Trade Unions to discuss various issues emerged to COVID-19 and Lockdown. We also, thank the Ministry, for starting a Control room to disburse complaints immediately. Due to your personal intervention and also Labour Secretary’s intervention, some issues resolved immediately .Ex: MES Contract workers issue at Kolkata.

  We are here with submitting our concerns to you for taking urgent steps.
Issues Raised by BMS in the meeting of Trade Unions with Labour Ministry on 06-05-2020
1.    Many of the migrant workers moving to their home states have different problems both at the host state and home state. Government has to immediately start creating a National Register of Migrant Workers for creating data base, proper identity, portability, labour law protection, social security benefits etc. Inter State Migrant Workers Act, 1979 is grossly violated when train fare is collected from workers, contractor or principal employer not providing them wages or food etc. in the labour camps. Government should also immediately formulate a National policy on Migrant Workers.
2.    Compulsory methods should not be adopted to dissuade migrant workers going to their home (reverse migration) to join their families. They should be provided incentives to come back to host states like cash incentives, electronic passes, free train tickets etc. The facilities in labour camps should be improved. Whereveremployers have good relationship with workers, workers will own the units and will not flee away. Many are fleeing due to not treating them properly. Industrial Associations, Trade Unions, Government officials and local elected representatives should collectively undertake a campaign to retain Labour at the work places itself. Building confidences and trust should be top priority to start industrial work.
3.    Payment of Wages is at the centre of issues in the labour sector. 7th of every month is the due date for disbursal. Daily wage workers, casual workers, contract workers, women, fish workers, plantation workers, Construction Workers etc. also have the issue of job loss and not getting timely wages. Home based workers have also lost their meagre livelihood during the lockdown. Those working in beedi sector, garment, automobile and other supply chains are deprived of their regular income. Hence the Central Government should strictly monitor payment of wages and ensuring jobs at workplace level. When many establishment starts working with 50% workers or less, women and temporary workers will be affected.
4.    In green and orange zones economic activities are being started. Only 50% of workers will be able to work initially. There are issues of their transportation, full payment of wages, loss of jobs, social security, security of health and sanitation etc. Electricity should be provided to units in further subsidised rates and condoning delay in payment of charges.
5.    In green and orange zones and even in red zones outside hotspots, industrial, supply chain and other activities should start immediately. For the purpose raw materials should be available at existing price. Since public transport is not allowed, workers should be arranged alternate transport facilities.
6.    93% of the unorganised sector workers spread over the country especially in the villages are in very difficult livelihood situation. Directions should be given to local bodies to protect their livelihood.
7.    Huge salary cuts are made by nearly 14 state Governments and DA freeze by the Central Govt.No guarantee is being given whether the amount so withheld will be returned or when it will be returned. States like Kerala has unscrupulously exceeded all limits by compulsorily cutting a total of one month’s salary (six days salary per month for 5 months) through ordinance. Labour Ministry should write to States to immediately stop such massive salary cuts.  BMS opposes unilateral decision on DA freezing. Low wages employees should be exempted from freezing.
8.    The condition of pensioners is pitiable now. Those EPF pensioners who are getting below Rs.3000 should be given a relief of Rs.1000. No salary cut should be made from pension. Those retiring during the corona lockdown should be paid pension calculated including the additional DA freezed.
9.    For certain categories the condition is deteriorating day by day- They include non-essential and luxury areas like hotels, cinema, transport, travel and tourism, sports, automobiles, export oriented sectors etc. where the return to normalcy will be delayed. For this demand side incentives are to be provided by the Government.
10. If migrants do not turn up in time, units may go for automation. Once automated is adopted, then there will be no more employment. So Government should frame regulations and guidelines on automation, AI, robotics etc. coming as a part of Industry 4.0.
11. Three states have raised the working hours. It should be immediately reversed as it is against ILO conventions and the existing labour laws. India should be a model to other countries in respecting International Labour Standards set by ILO.
12. Government should desist from any anti worker amendments in labour laws to facilitate shifting of companies from China or other countries.China is notorious for not having democracy, any respect for human rights, labour law protection, active trade unions etc. Hence India cannot be a good substitute for such undemocratic characteristics in the mad run to provide “Cheap labour”.
13.                Tiny, micro and small enterprises shall be asked to pay wages in time and it should immediately be reimbursed by the Governmentby wage subsidy. Wage subsidy should not be provided to the industry without linking directly with the wage bills. Wages should not be deducted from ESI or EPF. The government declared lockdown period should be treated as paid holidays and not as lay-offs.
14. Excess amount of Rs 80000 in the ESI fund should be utilised to extent ESI to the unorganised sector in the wake ofthe health crisis.
15. Government should declare a Stimulus Package targeting mainly the working population, job intensive sectors like tiny, micro, small industries, agriculture and allied sectors. Food security should be ensured to every citizen.
16. Many of the returning international migrants will need rehabilitation and employment. Government should make arrangements for the same.
17. Government should respect PSUs and the employees working there who were the forefront warriors in saving the nation from the pandemic, whereas the market and private sector were either hesitant or paralysed.
18. This is the right time for the Government to adopt an India centric, Swadeshi roadmap for the post corona economic development. FDI and E-commerce should be restricted as they will be hindrance to industrial activities coming to normalcy. 
19.                BMS feels every social organisation including trade unions and employer organisations has a duty to work in tandem with the interest of the nation in this unprecedented crisis period. Every issue related to labour should be consulted in tripartite forum to find solutions. Jointly we can succeed.
Signature-VU 001
(Virjesh Upadhyay)
General Secretary
Copy to-
Sri Hiralal Samaria,
Labour Secretary,
Ministry of Labour & Employment
Government of India
Shram Sakthi Bhavan , New Delhi

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