A one-day Conference on workers’ rights was organized on 4 May at the IMA Hall in Patna under the banner of the Bihar State Contract-Honorarium Niyojit Sewakarmi Samyukt Morcha. The issues discussed in the Conference included the following: ending the modern-day slavery in the form of contact-honorarium-outsourced-incentive system; regularization of all such workers; equal work equal pay in the light of the Supreme Court directive; recognition for contract-honorarium workers’ trade unions; ending repression of workers.
The speakers addressing the conference said that there are more than 50 crore workers in India who come in the category of contract, unorganized, non-regular, provisional, or incentive workers, but only 3 % have security of job, wages and social security. India has one of the cheapest wage rates in the world and the Prime Minister is inviting global capitalists to India using cheap labour as bait; He does not dare to tell them to pay workers in India the same rates as they pay in China (Rs 1500 per hour). Parliament as well as judiciary is indifferent to workers’ issues. Workers must form a united front and fight their own battles. The unorganized workers of Bengaluru have recently shown the way when they fought and secured Rs. 17,440 per month as wages. We must fight together to put pressure on the Centre and State governments to obey the recent SC directive of equal pay for equal work. The speakers said that the teachers’ movement in Bihar had shattered Nitish Kumar’s pride. They called upon workers to unite and fight against the anti-worker anti-people policies of the Centre and State governments.
A 6 point political resolution was unanimously passed at the Conference. It was decided to run an extensive signature campaign across Bihar in June on the issues of regularization, wage scales, equal pay for equal work, and submit the signatures to the Prime Minister. It was also decided that the Morcha would organize Block level conferences in May and hold protests in front of the Chief Minister and the Governor.