Port Blair, Nov 06: As a prelude to the “MAHAPADAV” being organized by the Central Trade Unions in front of the Parliament on 9th ,10th and 11th November 2017 to protest against various anti working class policies being adopted by the Central Government , a trade union convention was jointly organized by the A& N unit of Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and Centre of Trade Unions (CITU) on 05.11.2017 at Andhra Association Hall. The convention was chaired by Mr. M Z Siddique, Vice President, INTUC in the presence of Mr. M Boominathan, CITU State President and was attended by various unions affiliated to INTUC and CITU both from the organized and unorganized sectors. Addressing the gathering, Mr.Siddique said that, in these Islands INTUC and CITU are the two pioneer central trade unions who have always stood and fought for legitimate demands and right of the workers and through sustained efforts and struggle could bring about improvements in the lives and livelihood of the workers. He said it is perhaps for the first time in the history of the trade union movement in these Islands a common dais is being shared by INTUC and CITU despite having ideological differences to combat collectively against the anti labour policies being enforced by the central government. Being involved in the Public Distribution System for a long period Mr. Siddique expressed concerned towards the deteriorating condition of the public distribution system and urged the need for its revival and strengthening with more essential commodities such as pulses , oil added to it so as to contain the price rise in the open market.
Mr.B.Chandrachoodan, State General Secretary, CITU explained the gathering about the ill motive of the government at the Center to amend the labour laws against the interest of the workers and to make them favourable to the employers. He said all the statutory benefits that the workers have today, i.e. eight hours work a day, minimum wages, workmen compensation, maternity benefit, bonus, social security benefits including provident fund and ESI, right to form trade unions etc. have been achieved through hard struggle of the working class people lead by the trade unions and not granted out of charity by the employers or government. However, the present Modi government representing the interest of big capitalist both domestic and foreign is actively involved in imposing policies that is snatching the rights of workers, taking away jobs, creating unemployment, causing price rise and many more exploitation to the poor and low income group of people. Mr. Chandrachoodan further said that as per the Supreme Court and calculation made by expert committee , the minimum monthly wages for a three member worker’s family need to be Rs.20,000/-, however the central trade unions agreed for a negotiated rate of Rs.18,000/- but what the Andaman Administration is proposing to offer is around Rs.11,400/-@ Rs.437/ per day which is far less and objectionable.
Mr. Gyan Prakash Krishna , General Secretary, INTUC said that in our country over 90% of the workers are not covered by the labour laws. Majority of this small 10% of workers who works with private firms though legally covered by the labour laws do not get benefit because of poor or non implementation. The BJP government has already diluted and weakened their implementation by causing amendments in the Factory Act, 1948, Apprentices Act, 1961 and is in the process of further diluting the Industrial Dispute Act 1947, Trade Union Act, 1926 and Industrial Employment ( Standing Order) Act,1946 etc. to the extent that it may not be possible to form a Trade Union in a factory to fight and protect the legitimate right of the workers having strength of less than 100.
Mr. Vinjith of NGO Association urged the government and the local administration for stoppage of contractual appointment in permanent perennial work and payment of same wage and benefits to contract workers as regular workers for same and similar nature of work. He also offered full support of his association in making the “ MAHAPADAV” a successful working class people’s movement in the Islands.
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Mohd. Rafi, General Secretary, INTUC said that in the history of the Pay Commission , the Seventh Pay Commission given by the NDA government is the worst beneficial to the government servant. The government has not only reduced the percentage of the allowances in respect of HRA, ISDA, NPA etc. but purposely delayed the finalization of same with the only intention of avoiding payment of arrears from the date of announcement of the Seventh Pay Commission.
While concluding the convention it was decided to hold public meetings at Bhatu Basti, Dairy Farm, Haddo in the evening of 7th , 9th and 10th November 2017 respectively followed with Dharna and Public Meeting at Tiranga Park on 11.11.2017 from 3PM to 7 PM. Also resolutions in context with the working class people of these Islands were passed to vigorously pursued with A&N Administration like Regularization of services of DRMs/ Casual/Contract workers, Filling up of posts lying vacant in various department of A&N Administration, Providing compassionate appointment to the dependent family member of a government servant who dies in harness, attempted to be made by the Administration for revival of the A&N Forest Development Corporation, Implementation of various Government Orders/Act in respect of payment of Bonus, grant of maternity leave, medical leave etc. to Contract workers, part time workers, ASHA workers, Anganwadi Worker & Helper and those working under various flagship programmes of the government.