June 07, 2015

All India Strike of Construction Workers Held Successfully

Debanjan Chakrabarti

AT the call of Construction Workers’ Federation of India, 1.5 million construction workers participated in the all India strike on June 1, 2015. In West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Manipur, Bihar, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh (Ghaziabad), Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, the strike was observed successfully. The construction workers went on national strike demanding proper implementation of All India Building and Construction Workers Act in all the states and union territories, enrollment of all the construction workers, brick kiln workers and stone crushing workers in State welfare Boards, ensuring representation for the CITU in tripartite State Welfare Boards in all the states. The Federation also demanded a substantial increase in the existing welfare benefits and ensuring equal benefits in all states. It said that there should be no diversion of board funds to other purposes. The other demands are: increase pension to Rs 2000 per month and reduce age of pension eligibility for women to 55 years; allotment of more funds for infrastructure and development works by both central and state governments in their annual budget; stop entry of FDI in construction sector; lift the existing ban on sand, blackstone mining and on earth cutting for bricks manufacturing and save the livelihood of millions of workers; central and state governments should take proper steps to reduce the price of construction materials like cement, steel, paints etc; state governments should distribute sand and blackstone at reasonable prices through its godowns; ensure housing for construction workers; implement RSBY in all states and union territories and increase the limit of medical benefits from Rs 30,000 to one lakh rupees; all India Identity Card (Smart Card) to be issued to the inter-state migrant construction workers to get welfare benefits; minimum wage for unskilled workers at Rs15,000; central government should evolve a suitable policy to protect Indian construction industry and construction workers. International fraternal organisations – UITBB (International Federation of Construction workers, Under WFTU), FEVICOM (Portugal Construction Workers Union), and Senegal Construction Workers Union (SNTPBHC/sénégal) have sent solidarity messages for the success of this national strike called by the CWFI. The following are some of the state reports: Bihar: In 12 districts including Bhagalpur, Jahanabad, Muzaffarpur, Madhopur, Madhubani and Jamui, thousands of construction workers participated in processions in spite of massive heat wave and join the strike. Punjab: In 80 places workers assembled covering almost all the districts. Workers staged Dharna Programme and the leaders of the construction workers addressed those gathering. About 3 lakh workers participated in this Dharna programme. In Assam - All India Strike of Construction workers gets a good response in Assam. The Sadou Assom Nirman sramik Union organized this strike. In 18 Districts the workers stopped their work and came out to the street, taken out protest rally and given demonstration before the Local level Labour Offices. In some places the organizers submitted Memorandum to the Central Labour Minister through the District Commissioners incorporating the Demands of CWFI. In J & K – In Kathua districts before Deputy Commissioner and assistant labour commissioners offices more than 500 workers led a procession and hold Dharna for 3 hours and submit the memorandum the workers demands. In Udhampur Rail construction projected has gone on strike. In Tripura –Construction workers strike have massive response. In all most all the government construction project work stopped for the day. Brick Kiln workers also go on strike here. In some places general people came out in support the construction workers strike more than 50 thousands participated in this strike. In Manipur – only in 3 brick Kiln project strike took place. All Manipur Construction Workers submitted a memorandum to the Hon’ble Minister of Labour & Employment. In Delhi and In Uttar Pradesh (Gaziabad) – In some places thousands of construction workers holds demonstration before the Labour Commissioner’s office for more than 5 hours and submitted memorandum on the demands of construction workers. In Andhra Pradesh – About a lack workers participated in the strike throughout the states in Vijaywada collectorate office thousands of construction workers assembled and staged a Dharna and submitted a memorandum before the Collector of Vijawada District. In Rajasthan – Rajasthan Nirman Mazdoor took the initiative to mobilize the construction workers in Rajasthan States since morning through rally, demonstration and mass meeting. In Rawat Bhatta, Bikaner, Ganganagar, Bundhi, Kota, Chittargarh, Udhampur, Dungarpur, Shikar and other districts. More than 20thousands workers participated in the strike. In Maharastra – in 13 districts namely Warda,Nasik, Beed, Ahamednagar, Jalgaon, Kolapur, Solapur, Pune, Nagpur, and Mumbai and 2 other districts more than 52,000 construction workers staged Dharna before the Labour office and district collectorate. More than 1 lakh workers participated in the strike today. In Telangana – In 13 district they have more than 10,000 posters and 20,000 leaflets for campaign of all India strike. Throughout Telangana state 50% of the construction work stopped in this strike expected 1.50lack workers participated in this strike. In Harayana – 11000 demonstrators demonstrate in 43 places in the state of Haryana. More than 30,000 workers participated in Strike In West Bengal – Out of 20 districts the strike was well responded in 15 districts and partial in 5 districts. In some districts the rural area this strike have a massive response from the construction workers. In the urban areas in some districts 50% of the total workers participated in the strike. In some districts 70% - 90% workers participated in the strike. In some district workers rally organized and submitted memorandum to the Labour Commissioner. In most of the urban areas where the self employed construction workers usually assembled in thousands, today hardly 10-15% of them were present in that place. In Himachal Pradesh – in 8district head quarters protest rally held, more than 6000 workers participated. All the 8 Hydro electric power plant was totally closed. The final reports not yet received from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Odissa, Jharkhand. On behalf CWFI Comrade Debanjan Chakrabarti, General Secretary greeted the lacks of construction workers those who have participated in the national strike and make the strike a grand success. Issued by – General Secretary CWFI