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Protests against labour law reforms: RSS-backed BMS gets support of 5 more trade unions

Nirbhay Kumar     May 18, 2020


  • Trade unions are opposing ordinances issued by Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to relax labour laws
  • A joint forum of trade unions including BMS has said they will hit the streets as well as file a case
  • Unions to observe National Protest Day on May 20

A joint forum of central trade unions including RSS-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has vowed to launch double attack, mobilising support in streets and a petition in court, against state governments for relaxing labour laws. Confederation of Central Trade Unions (CONCENT), a group of six unions, in a joint statement on Monday said that the ordinances issued by Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh may be detrimental to the interest of workers.

"Rajasthan, Goa, Odisha and Maharashtra have increased working hours from 8 to 12 hours and some states are on the way to do so to dilute labour laws which will add salt to the wounds of the already suffering workers, hence it is unacceptable to us," the unions have reiterated.

Protesting against the move, the unions have decided to hit the streets on May 20 and put forward their demands with local administrative authorities. As part of the multi-pronged protest plan, the office-bearers would organise meetings at district headquarters and in state capitals.

"Necessary steps and consultation should be initiated at various organisational levels to ensure the success of these programs under the banner of CONCENT," the joint forum has said. Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC), National Front of Indian Trade Unions (NFITU) Hind Majdoor Kisan Panchayat (HMKP) and Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) are part of the joint forum.

Trade unions have been up in arms against various state governments such as BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat for suspending various labour laws or sections of it to attract investment and create jobs. While Uttar Pradesh government decided to suspend as many as 30 labour laws for 3 years, Madhya Pradesh diluted state labour laws through a combination of ordinance and executive order. Many states such as Haryana, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are also expected to relax their labour laws.

But so far, the decision of UP government has been the most revolutionary. As a result of suspension of key labour laws, workers would have to cede many of their rights such as right to form unions, right to raise an industrial dispute, right to have grievance redressal machinery, right to gratuity and right to have fair machinery in case of their dismissal for alleged misconduct.

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