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Workers’ unions protest govt policies

The Tribune 2019-01-09 08:07:00

Ajay Joshi
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, January 8

Hundreds of workers of various employees associations on Tuesday gathered in front of the bus stand here against privatisation policies of the Central government as well as ‘negligence’ by the state government towards their demands.

Among the protesters were workers of the Punjab Chandigarh Medical and Sales Representatives Union (PCMSRU), state anganwadi workers, Punjab Roadways Workers Union and workers under the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).

Comrade Shiv Awasthi, general secretary of the PCMSRU union, said, “The Punjab Government is not declaring eight-hour notification for the medical representatives (MRs), hence a majority of pharma companies are forcing MRs to work for 12-14 hours a day, without overtime wages and the Labour Department is doing nothing in this regard. Also, the work category of MRs is not revised to highly skilled workers, despite assurances by the Labour Department.”

He added that pharmaceutical companies were not following the SPE Act-1976 and the Punjab Government was mum on the subject.

Raising anti-Modi slogans and condemning the BJP government’s policies, CITU workers said the government was just playing with their future as neither minimum wages policy was implemented in different fields of work nor included in the government department.

Expressing the sorrow against the state government, anganwadi workers leader Krishna Kumari demanded that as per the new school enrolment policy of the Education Department, children between the age group three-six years have been taken away from the anganwadi schools and have been sent to pre-primary schools. Therefore, they have asked the Education Minister to send back the children and instead anganwadi schools be converted into well-structured schools, he added.

She said the workers should be included in the Health Department as they took care of children before their births and Integrated Child Development Department should be separately made for anganwadi workers.

To press for the demands of electricity consumers, employees and engineers, the Council of Junior Engineers, Punjab State Electricity Board, and members under the National Coordination Committee of Electricity Engineers and Employees (NCCOEEE) also organised a strike against the Central government for its proposal to further amend Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2014.

Considering the amendment an anti-people legislation law, Raj Kumar Chowdhary, a council member, said, the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2014 sought to extend privatisation to the distribution of electricity, and consequently, to snatch the right to electricity of the poor. As a result, a large number of private companies entered power generation even as transmission and distribution remained with the state governments, he added.

Moreover, the Bill also introduces multiple supply licensees who would be supplying electricity, so private owners would be competing over selling power.

Therefore, the NCCOEEE convention also demanded that natural energy resources should not be transferred to private hands. Besides, the engineers demanded equal wage for equal work and pending regularisation of all contractual/casual workers.

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