Trade unions on Monday put across their wishlist for the upcoming Budget, seeking restoration of the old pension scheme, more focus on employment creation as well as greater social security for workers. They also raised concerns over privatisation of public sector units.
However, 10 central trade unions boycotted the pre-Budget meeting with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday.
“The meeting was called at quite a late date. It was to be held in virtual mode with only three minutes of time given to each speaker. The composition of the meeting was such that it included NGOs and employers’ organisations. Why should we be party to this? So central trade unions boycotted the meeting,” said Tapan Sen, general secretary, CITU.
The meeting with stakeholders of labour organisations was, however, attended by three trade unions, including Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, National Front of Indian Trade Unions (NFITU) and Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC).
“BMS strongly insisted on the need to increase the minimum pension from `1,000 to `5,000 and link it with VDA,” the trade union said, adding that it has also demanded more funds for the unorganised Sector, enhanced monthly honorarium to all types of scheme workers, including anganwadi, ASHA workers, Midday Meals workers.
The government has to rethink its policies and adopt an approach to reviving loss-making industries, diversification of production and making top management accountable instead of closing, BMS further said, adding that it has demanded that the Centre clear wage dues to NTC Mills, Heavy Engineering Corporation, HMT immediately.
“In its representation, TUCC sought that anganwadi, ASHA and Mid Day meal workers should be brought under the ambit of social security, a domestic workers’ board should be set up and unorganised workers should be brought under the ESIC to get medical benefits. It has also called for social protection for unorganised sector workers, reverting to the old pension scheme,” said SP Tiwari, national general secretary, TUCC.
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Trade unions have also called against privatisation and corporatisation of public sector units, he said.
Virat Jaiswal, general secretary, NFITU, said CTUs should be involved in skill development. It has also sought higher pension for coal workers and said the government should fund basic education so that all children get equal opportunity.
The pre-Budget meeting was also attended by Satoshi Sasaki, deputy director, ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team for South Asia; Pradeep Bhargava, co-chairman, CII National Committee on Industrial Relations and former president of the Employers’ Federation of India; Sanjay Bhatia, corporate member of Ficci and former president of AIOE; Piyush Raj Verma, national president, The Federation of Association of Small Industries of India; Ved Mani Tiwari, CEO, National Skill Development Corporation; Prashant Patel, president, FISME, and Soma Mondal, chairman, Standing Conference of Public Enterprises.