As India begins lockdown, trade unions write to PM Modi asking for financial aid for daily wage labourers

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With the country placed under a 21-day complete lockdown, the trade unions, irrespective of their party allegiance, sought financial assistance for the unorganised sector. Both Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) of the RSS and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) of the CPM asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to see that Rs 5,000 is transferred to every worker as a wage relief.

In a letter to Modi, BMS made a list of demands which include sufficient budget allocation as a relief who do not get their wages or who have shut down their units due to crisis, distribution of essential commodities through PDS and make available essential medicines at affordable prices to everyone, among other things.

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As India begins lockdown, trade unions write to PM Modi asking for financial aid for daily wage labourers

Both Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) of the RSS and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) of the CPM asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to see that Rs 5,000 is transferred to every worker as a wage relief.

Written by Liz Mathew , Manoj C G | New Delhi |Updated: March 25, 2020 2:41:40 pm

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With the country placed under a 21-day complete lockdown, the trade unions, irrespective of their party allegiance, sought financial assistance for the unorganised sector. Both Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) of the RSS and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) of the CPM asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to see that Rs 5,000 is transferred to every worker as a wage relief.

In a letter to Modi, BMS made a list of demands which include sufficient budget allocation as a relief who do not get their wages or who have shut down their units due to crisis, distribution of essential commodities through PDS and make available essential medicines at affordable prices to everyone, among other things.

The government should urgently transfer Rs 5000 as income support/ wage relief to every worker in the unorganized sector as well as other unpaid workers through DBT (Direct benefit transfer) by depositing directly to their bank accounts for subsistence for one month. Such money will sustain the purchasing power of people and if spent, will activate the market and economic activities without getting paralyzed,” the BMS wrote to Prime Minister Modi, according to BMS National President Saji Narayanan.

CITU general secretary Tapan Sen also wrote to Prime Minister today asking the Government to ensure transfer of Rs 5000 for the workers in the unorganized and informal sector workers aged up to 25 years and Rs 10,000 to those above 25 years on a monthly basis through their bank jan-dhan accounts.

Incidentally, the Indian Express reported on Wednesday that Prime Minister Modi has told the opposition leaders financial assistance for the daily wagers could be considered at the second stage as the government is focusing on the implementation of social distancing in order to contain the community transmission of the virus.

Both the BMS and CITU leaders pointed out that the worst hit in the coronavirus crisis would be the daily wage workers in the unorganised sector.

Sen said he has got reports “that in many places workers are being compelled to forego part of their wages and in some cases leaves and just go without wages.” He said the situation was especially worrisome for unorganised sector workers. He said many of the private factories have downsized their production and this has hit the contract workers.

“More than 60-70 per cent workers are on contract workers…And even regular workers are facing difficulties…Today, I got a telephone from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu that employers are calling workers and telling them you will be off for ten days. If you forego your leave..we will not cut your pay…or you pay will be cut,” he told.

Lauding the Prime Minister for his leadership and efforts in the crisis period of handling COVID 19, Narayanan pointed out that the situation is “grave”as “,migrant workers have already started returning to their villages empty-handed” He listed the affected are as contractual workers, casual workers, fishers, domestic workers, home-based workers, street vendors, rag pickers, self-employed and other workers in sectors like private industries, large retail sector, transport, shops, hotels, restaurants, airlines, BPO, tourism, entertainment and cinema, transport including autorickshaw and taxi, automobile, beedi, aviation, hospitality, apparel, consumer durables and electronics, Poultry and Seafood, construction, railway, agriculture, etc. “Those in unorganised sector have virtually no source of income to sustain life.”

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