Borgaon Tea Estate, Assam
Borgaon TE was declared locked out on 21st July following two days continuous worker’s Strike in protest against an order by the management. Though a meeting was called by the Labour Officer to break the stalemate, the management sent a lock out notice to the Labour Officer instead of attending the meeting. The management did so without there being any provocation from workers or any law and order situation in the garden.
It must be noted that there are so many pending issues pertaining to fire wood, ambulance, drinking water, quarter repairs and others which have remain unresolved for years. It was the result of a series of movements that a memorandum of understanding was signed between management and union in presence of labour officer on August 2016. However, though the year 2016 is long gone, the MoU has not been implemented. Labour and civil administration had been approached about the non-fulfilment of the MoU, but they expressed their helplessness. Ultimately “gherao” programme was taken on 14th demanding implementation of MoU. On 18th July management instructed workers who have been engaged in factory work for years to go for plucking. There were several electricians also among these workers. The workers refused to follow this order and boycotted work. All workers began non-cooperation on 19 July in support of factory workers and management declared lock out on 20th. CPI (ML affiliated) Asom Sangrami Chah Sramik Sangha is the only recognised Union in the garden.
Rally in Raipur
The Akhil Bharatiya Theka/Aniyamit Kamgar Sangh organized a rally in Raipur on 11 July 2017 on the issues of contract appointments and other demands of honorarium workers. The rally started from Raipur Railway Station and culminated in a dharna and a meeting at Budha Talab. A memorandum was submitted to the Chief Minister through the dharna with the following demands: end system of appointing on contract/honorarium basis; regularize contract/honorarium workers; implement equal pay for equal work in view of the Supreme Court verdict; give government employee status to workers appointed in all schemes; guarantee strict implementation of labour laws; guarantee respectable service terms and conditions and social security.
The speakers addressing the meeting strongly criticized the Modi and Raman Singh governments for their anti-worker, anti-people policies. Workers expressed great anger at the Chhattisgarh government’s decision to cut contract workers’ daily wage by Rs 50. The speakers stressed the necessity to mobilize workers against the blatant flouting of labour laws in the State. The speakers also strongly condemned the Sanghi terror being spread in the country in the name of Swachh Bharat and Gau-raksha and the spate of anti-democratic and anti-Constitutional mob lynching which is emerging as a dangerous trend in the country. They said that the need of the hour is for workers to unite and strengthen the workers’ movement against the attack on workers’ rights and the looting of workers’ wages and the brutal repression of contract/honorarium workers.
Workers’ Union Protest in JNU
On 21 July, the All India General Kamgar Union, JNU Unit (affiliated to AICCTU) protested against the worsening working conditions of the contractual workers employed in different sectors on campus. It is shameful that despite being a central university, the most minimal rights of the contract workers, employed by JNU, like timely payment, bonus, disbursal of arrears, sick leave etc. are denied out rightly. The university administration and the contractors engaged by the university administration have repeatedly flouted the Minimum Wages Act, the Contract Labour Act, Payment of Wages Act and Payment of Bonus Act. The university, as the principal employer, is legally bound to ensure compliance of all the above-mentioned acts and other relevant Labour laws.
The JNU administration even threatened the Union representatives with a letter branding the protest “illegal” and when the representatives went to meet the JNU VC and registrar, the officials cowardly ran away shirking all accountability.
The Union has demanded a concrete response to the demands raised today within the next one week. In coming days, our struggle against this breach of workers’ rights by administration-contractor nexus will intensify with the strength of numbers!