Kerala Observes Strike against Centre's Employment Policy

A 24-hour strike was observed in Kerala on April 2 against the central government's anti-worker decision to amend the Industrial Employment (Standing Order) Central Rules 1946 to allow businesses to hire fixed-term employees, which will eventually threaten job security in all sectors.

The CITU, INTUC, AITUC, STU, AHMS, UTUC, HMPK, KTUC, INLC, TUCI, AICTU, NLO and ITUC led the protest against the move.

Public service vehicles remained off the roads. Shop owners stood in solidarity with the protest by closing their shops. Even auto-taxi sector restrained from all activities. Factory workers, bank employees, government employees and teachers have expressed their solidarity. Milk services, newspaper services, hospitals, marriage functions and airports were exempted from the strike. 

In every district centre and towns, workers took out huge protest marches. Prominent trade union leaders including Elamaram Kareem, Anathalavattam Anandan, and K Chandrasekharan addressed the workers.

The anti-worker amendment was made on March 16, 2018, which would allow the employers to hire employees on a contractual (fixed term) basis, according to unique terms decided by them. Also, it gives the employer powers to terminate the contract on a short notice, without an inclusive responsibility to notify the employee.

As per the amendments, there is no need for the employer to provide a notification of termination to the worker – this stand's true irrespective of the fixed term which may be a year, a week or could be even for the duration of a project, and the workers will have no right to any notice pay if the contract is terminated.

The amendments facilitate a hire and fire policy for the company, override the current retrenchment requirements and allow free labor movement for the companies.

Under it, companies can hire workers according to seasonal trends and fire the extra workforce when the business is running lean ie, the workforce becomes a commodity expendable according to company needs.

This, in turn, makes the employees powerless as the employers will start seeing them as an expendable commodity, which will turn into a reality due to the bonus powers vested in the 2018 amendment.



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