Rajasthan Labour Moves Ominous: DUJ
THROUGH a statement issued from New Delhi on June 8, the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) and Delhi Press Initiative (DPI) castigated the Vasundhara Raje led BJP government of Rajasthan for its total surrender to big business and media monopolies. The state government of the BJP state government have sought, the statement accused, to virtually end the Industrial Disputes Act, Contract Labour Act and the Factories Act, and demolish whatever security has been left for employees. According to the DUJ president Ms Sujata Madhok and general secretary S K Pande, the exclusive report published in The Indian Express acquires all the more significance in view of the Indian Express group’s continuous role in flouting labour laws in the country. The group has refused to pay fair wages to journalists and press workers as stipulated by the various wage boards so far. The DUJ noted with concern the shrinking of organised sector employment in the country. It pointed out that the present labour laws and the labour judiciary have been singularly ineffective in protecting the rights of workers. The DUJ asserted that the notion that labour laws stand in the way of increasing employment is a myth propagated by the industry and an alibi for promoting the jobless pattern of economic growth. Reducing the few protections offered by the Industrial Disputes Act, the Contract Labour Act and the Factories Act will not lead to the sharp growth in employment, as has been claimed by the Rajasthan government of the BJP; it will only promote arbitrary hire and fire policies. Restricting the right to form trade unions and other anti-labour policies, the DUJ warned, would only lead to an acceleration of conflicts between today’s young, better educated and aspirational workforce and exploitative employers. The DUJ urged upon the president not to give his assent to any changes in state level laws that reduce the rights and protections offered to a working class already impoverished by inflation. The DUJ called for the broadest possible unity of trade unions, human rights bodies and conscious citizens to challenge the anti-labour policies being propagated by industry think-tanks obsessed with a neo-liberal agenda.