We have placed on our website the synopsis of the discussion the leaders of the Central Trade Unions had with the Group of Ministers on the 12 point charter of demands. The Central Trade Unions evaluated the Government’s response to the strike call and have come to the conclusion that in the absence of any tangible result, the strike action must take place. The only issue on which there had been a concrete proposal from the Government was on the question of raising the bonus ceiling. In fact such an assurance has been given by the earlier Government also. Due to the pressure exerted by the employing class, the said assurance could not be translated into reality. To have the assurance to be put into practice, the Bonus Act has to be amended and that is possible only in the next session of the parliament. In other words, if one is to believe the assurance held out by the Government on the question of raising the ceiling for bonus computation, it can only have prospective effect i.e. for the next year 2016. We firmly believe that the corporate would not allow the present government to give effect to this assurance. The acrimonious ceiling on bonus while allowing unlimited extraction of profit for the companies is to be fought out through bitter struggles.
There had been no word from the Government on the question of rolling back its proposals on the labour reforms. The proposed labour reforms will hurt the working class most. The regularization of contract workers, payment of minimum wage, ensuring statutory Pension benefit, the registration or recognition of trade unions within a stipulated time limit to enable the workers to have the right to collective bargaining, the non implementation of the agreements reached at the various tripartite Labour conferences were some of the significant issues on which the working class sought settlement. Introduction of 100% FDI in Railways, 49% in Defence, corporatisation & privatisation of government entities, end for contract/casual temporary employment also met with stoic silence or rejection. The Group of Ministers has successfully eluded the issues. The BMS unions have declared that they would withdraw from the strike action. Their decision being political based is understandable, but is difficult to appreciate. We can only hope against hope that they would realize the reality of the situation in the days to come and become part of the joint struggles very soon.