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Gujarat Trade Unions Release Manifesto Ahead of Polls, Demand Extension of MGNREGA to Urban Areas

One of the key demands raised by the Sanyukt Trade Union Morcho was that employment through outsourcing in the state as well as the central government should be stopped, and that social security should be universalized.

Vijaysinh Parmar | News18

Updated:April 10, 2019, 7:01 PM IST
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Gujarat Trade Unions Release Manifesto Ahead of Polls, Demand Extension of MGNREGA to Urban Areas
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Ahmedabad: Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Sanyukt Trade Union Morcho, comprising of 15 trade unions and organisations in Gujarat, released its manifesto on Tuesday to put forth their demands before various political parties.

The forum primarily pertains to the rights of workers from the unorganised sector and includes trade unions like the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Bandhkam Mazdoor Sanghthan, which is a construction workers’ union, along with the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and Gujarat Khet Kamdar Union, among others.

One of the key demands raised by the union was that employment through outsourcing in the state as well as the central government should be stopped, and that social security should be universalized. It also demanded for an amendment to the Provident Fund Act in order to make it applicable to workers in all economic sectors.

“In India, 500 million voters are wage laborers out of which 420 million are in the unorganized sector. Laborers are being exploited as cheap labor force is available due to unemployment. In manufacturing and other sectors, employment is available only for contract laborers who are kept out of social security. Minimum wages are seldom paid. Workers are forced to migrate to faraway places where they do not get basic facilities. Most workers work for more than 12 hours,’’ it said. The union, in its manifesto, also mentioned how reforms like the fixed term employment and amended Standing Order Act stand against the interests of labours.

According to sources, the foray of the AIBEA into this umbrella organization is a significant development, especially with context to the merger of bankers and other bank employees’ issues in the country.

The union also said that the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) should be extended to urban areas as well. "The Act should be enforced effectively and employment for 200 days should be provided. Anganwadi workers and ASHA workers should be considered permanent government employees and they should be given all benefits that government employees get,’’ Vipul Pandya, general secretary, Bandhkam Mazdoor Sanghthan, told News18.

He added that the privatisation and merging of scheduled banks should be stopped and the rights of the bank employees must be protected.

The union also demanded that the recent move to merge 44 labor laws –I n the name of simplification - into four labor codes be withdrawn completely and existing labor laws be enforced strictly.

The Street Vendors (Protection of livelihood and regulation of street vending) Act, 2014 should be enforced effectively, it added, with the manifesto stating that street vendors should not be pushed out until a survey is carried out under the Act and alternative space is offered the vendors.

“We have also demanded that for the welfare of unorganized sector workers, instead of establishing one welfare Board, separate welfare boards for agriculture workers, home based workers, self-employed workers, fish workers should be set up and separate fund for each of these boards should be set allotted,’’ Pandya added.

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| Edited by: Zoya Mateen
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