On 17 January 2018, sixty lakh scheme workers went on an all India strike, that central trade unions had called from the Workers’ Mahapadav in Delhi in November. Nearly 90% of scheme workers – working in the areas of health, care of children, nutrition in schools, and education – are women.
The strike was enthusiastically observed all over the country. The main demands of the Strike were:
1. Implementation of 45th Indian Labour Conference recommendations on scheme workers: recognition as workers, minimum wages not less than Rs 18,000 per month, social security including monthly pension not less than Rs 3000 to all scheme workers, EPF and ESI coverage for scheme workers.
2. Adequate financial allocation in the Union Budget 2018-19 for the centrally sponsored schemes including ICDS, MDMS, NHM, SSA, NCLP etc to ensure increase in wages for the workers to the level of minimum wages and universalisation of the schemes with adequate infrastructure and quality services.
3. No privatisation of the schemes in any form and no subversion by way of cash transfer or exclusion of beneficiaries.
AICCTU-affiliated unions of scheme workers played a leading role in the strike.