Working Class
AICCTU Delegate at ILC Confronted PM Demands Release of Noida, Maruti Workers and Arrest of Gangaram Koal’s Killers

AICCTU leader Comrade Subhas Sen confronted the Prime Minister and Labour Minister at the latest session of the Indian Law Conference, demanding answers on the arrest and jailing of Maruti and NOIDA workers, and the heinous assassination of tea garden workers’ leader Gangaram Koal at the behest of a Congress MLA in Assam, the State from which the PM is a Rajya Sabha MP.

The 45th Session of Indian Labour Conference (the highest tripartite forum, also called Labour Parliament) was held on 17-18 May, 2013 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The AICCTU delegation was led by National Secretary Subhas Sen, who was the designated delegate at the conference. When the Union Labour Minister, Mallikarjun Kharge, rose to welcome the PM, Comrade Subhas Sen stood up and demanded that the PM must answer for why Comrade Gangaram Koal’s killers were being protected by the Congress Government of Assam, and why the CBI had yet to be notified about the enquiry that the Chief Minister had committed to ordering into the murder. Comrade Subhas Sen also demanded an answer for the indiscriminate arrest and jailing of hundreds of workers and TU activists in the Noida industrial area during the all India General Strike on 20-21 February 2013, and of Maruti (Manesar) workers.

Subhas Sen and other members of AICCTU delegation raised these issues, overcoming attempts by the Minister to silence the protest. The other members AICCTU delegation (as advisors) were Rajiv Dimri, Santosh Roy and VKS Gautam, the National Secretaries.

Subhas Sen in his speech in the post-inaugural session, while raising the issues of escalated attacks on working class and downtrodden and the throttling of industrial democracy, characterized the central and various state governments as “caged parrots” of corporates. He elaborated on the issues of NOIDA and Maruti workers and the assassination of Gangaram Koal. He also raised the issue of non-implementation of Bonus in Assam. He pointed out that the speech of PM had failed to announce any measures to improve the working and living conditions of the predominantly women workers of honorarium schemes like ASHA, Anganvadi, Mid-day meal etc., numbering in lakhs.

The issues of Noida and Maruti, Manesar were also raised in the speeches of delegates of other central trade unions.

Some of the notable recommendations of the 45th session of ILC included: The Scheme (honorarium) workers like ASHA, Anganvadi, Mid-day meal etc. “should be first recognized as ‘workers’ and not volunteers or honorary workers”, “they should be paid minimum wages” and “should get all social security benefits like pension, gratuity, and maternity benefits.” On the issue of Assured Pension with Indexation to all workers, the session recommended that “EPS ’95 should, as a first step, provide a minimum assured pension of Rs. 1000/- per month”, “the pensionary benefits available to the beneficiaries should be responsive to price rise”, “the new pension scheme (NPS) should be suitably modified also to provide for assured pension to its members.”

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