Central trade unions held a national convention on 6th March 2019 in Delhi, where they jointly addressed workers across India. Ahead of the general elections, 10 central trade unions, barring the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, have demanded a national minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, an end to contract labour and a minimum indexed pension of Rs 6,000 per month, among others. The convention decided that they would place a “workers’ charter’ before all political parties and compel them to concretely express their stand on these issues. They demanded reversal of anti-workers policies and formulation of alternative pro-worker and pro-people policies, whichever government comes to power at the centre.
Similar conventions were held in other cities where workers noted the anti-worker policies of the government and decided to step up the struggle in support of their demands.
The demand to set a national minimum wage as per the recommendations of the 15th Indian Labour Conference, abolition of contract labour and strict implementation of the proposal of equal pay for equal work for men and women, maternity benefits and crèche facilities at the workplace are among the principal demands placed by the trade unions.
Other demands include comprehensive legislation covering social security and working conditions for all workers including agricultural workers, a check on unemployment through policies encouraging labour-intensive establishments and indexed minimum pension of Rs 6,000 per month for all.
The unions said those employed in different government schemes, including anganwadi workers and helpers, accredited social health activists and others should be recognised as workers and must get minimum wages and social security benefits including pension.
The unions included Indian National Trade Union Congress, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, All India Trade Union Congress, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, All India United Trade Union Centre, Trade Union Coordination Centre, Self-Employed Women’s Association, All India Central Council of Trade Unions, Labour Progressive Federation, United Trade Union Congress and all independent federations of workers.