RSS labour wing to protest against government’s labour reforms

New Delhi, Dhaval Kulkarni: The Narendra Modi-led BJP government’s plans for labour reforms have run into opposition from the Sangh Parivar’s labour wing Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), which has claimed that it’s against the interests of the working class.

RSS labour wing to protest against government’s labour reforms

File photo: PTI

The Centre plans to reform labour laws to make doing business easier, and for the success of its ‘Make in India’ programme, which seeks to boost the manufacturing sector.

“We are demanding that instead of reforms in labour laws, the laws be reviewed,” Baijnath Rai, All India general secretary, BMS, told dna, while pointing to the difference between the two words (reforms and review). He added that after labour reforms by the BJP government in Rajasthan, other states — Haryana and Madhya Pradesh — had planned to follow suit.

“Workers are under siege from all sides,” said Rai, adding that BMS will launch a protest in New Delhi and all state capitals on December 5 with other central trade unions. “Unrest is on the rise.” Rai added that while labour laws were always anti-worker, the Centre was trying to change these policies in a one-sided manner without consulting unions.

“This is wrong, if something wrong is done, we will oppose it. We are for responsive co-operation with the government regardless of the party,” Rai retorted when asked about BMS protesting against the BJP-led governments. The outfit has submitted a memorandum to the Centre, he added.

Rai said they had a 10-point charter of demands, including monthly pension of Rs5,000 to all above the age of 60, irrespective of whether they were workers or not, keeping the minimum wage at Rs15,000 per month, scrapping the contract system, improving service conditions, and opening up registration of labour unions.

BMS was founded in 1955 by RSS ideologue Dattopant Thengadi, who later established the Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh.

According to the union ministry of labour and empowerment, a National Sample Survey Organisation survey in 2009-10 showed that the total employment in India was 46.5 crore, comprising around 2.8 crore in the organised sector and 43.7 crore workers in the unorganised sector, including 24.6 crore workers in agriculture, 4.4 crore in construction work, and the rest in manufacturing and service.

BMS is also against foreign direct investment in defence, railways, telecom, banking, and retail and insurance, rising inflation, and disinvestment of public sector units. It is seeking that the central government ratify various International Labour Organization conventions regarding rights of workers to organise and collective bargaining, minimum age for admission to employment and prohibition, and elimination of the worst forms of child labour and decent work for domestic workers.