A joint forum of ten central trade unions has decided to boycott the virtual pre-budget consultation with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on November 28, demanding a physical meeting with reasonable time to speak.Pre-budget consultation is an annual exercise under which representatives of different sectors give suggestions and raise demands to be addressed through the Budget.
In a letter shot off on Friday, the forum stated, “Now your email dated November 25, 2022 under reference, makes it explicit that each central trade union will be allowed to speak for three minutes. This is a joke and we refuse to be part of such a cheap joke. We will not participate in the proposed video conference on November 28, 2022.” Earlier on Friday, in a letter shot off to the finance ministry, the forum had jointly protested against a restricted video conference for pre-budget consultations.
“We are constrained to express our disappointment for calling this meeting on virtual mode despite complete easing of Covid restrictions, and that to for 75 minutes only for consultation involving more than 12 central trade unions, may be more as indicated by the invitation letter. As per the labour ministry’s physical verification, there are 12 central trade unions in our country. That means less than five minutes or even less for each organisation, if time for customary opening remarks is taken into account,” they forum had stated.Later on Friday, the forum received another letter from the finance ministry stating that each participating central trade union will be allotted three minutes to make their suggestions.
In response to the letter, the forum shot off another letter on Friday and stated that the CTUs therefore have decided to boycott the proposed video conference. The forum also urged the finance ministry “to seriously reconsider convening of a physical meeting with reasonable time-allotment for effective consultations in the pre-budget meeting with the trade unions.” The forum also invited the finance minister for an open debate about these policies without any time restrictions on her to defend policies followed by her.
The ten trade unions which form the forum are INTUC, AITUC, TUCC, SEWA, HMS, CITU, AICCTU, LPF, AIUTUC and UTUC. There are about a dozen central trade unions in the country, including Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS). The BMS is not part of the joint forum.