An All India Convention of Trade Unions was held on September 4, 2012, at the Talakatora stadium in New Delhi. Thousands of worker delegates from different states of India and from different sectors of the economy came together to participate in the Convention.
The Convention took place in the immediate backdrop of the savage fascist onslaught on trade union rights, as reflected in the developments in the Gurgaon-Manesar belt and the passing of ESMA by the Maharashtra government. All the delegates that the correspondents of MEL spoke to were unanimous that the situation demanded a united stepped up struggle in defence of the rights of workers.
A majority of the delegates at the Convention were from large scale industry and services. They brought with them a wealth of experience of struggle. The mood amongst the delegates was one of resolve that a united and powerful struggle was necessary to halt the anti-worker, anti-people and anti-national course pursued by the ruling class and the Central government. They were optimistic that the situation was forcing all unions, independent of their affiliation to any particular party, to come together on one platform.
The Convention reiterated long standing demands for 1) concrete measures to contain price rise , 2) concrete measures for employment generation, 3) strict enforcement of labour laws, 4) universal social security cover for organized and unorganized workers, and 5) Halt to privatisation. In addition, the Convention demanded immediate action by the Government of India to ensure:
- No contractualisation of work of permanent/perennial nature and payment of wages and benefits to the contract workers at the same rate as available to the regular workers of the industry/establishment.
- Amendment of Minimum Wages Act to ensure universal coverage and fixation of statutory minimum wage at not less than Rs. 10,000/- linked with consumer price index.
- Remove all ceiling on payment and eligibility of Bonus and Provident Fund; and increase the quantum of gratuity.
- Pension with assured benefits for all workers.
- Compulsory registration of Trade Unions within a period of 45 days and immediate ratification of the ILO Convention No. 87 and 98.
The Convention announced the following action plan:
- Conventions at the State/District/Sector level during September, October and November 2012
- Jail Bharo on 18th/19th December 2012 in all the states
- March to Parliament on 20th December 2012
- Two day All India General strike on 20th and 21st February 2013