Increase Minimum Wage and link it with inflation

The Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), Rajasthan Asangathit Mazdoor Union (RAMU), and the Mazdoor Kisan Kirana Vyapar Private Limited (MKKVPL) supported the All India General Strike on the 8th of January, 2020. The national strike, organised by trade unions around India to protest the government’s anti-poor policies, includes the participation of people and organisations from all walks of life – farmers, labourers, employees from the banking and industry sectors, and public sector enterprises.

Members from MKSS, RAMU and MKKVPL took out a rally in Bhim ending with a public demonstration demanding the government take concrete action on the issues brought up by the thirteen points in the strike charter. A public statement was made by the MKSS focusing especially on the impact the current regime’s policies have had on the rural economy. In solidarity with the strike, the MKKVPL stores remained shut all day.

The government’s social security schemes for the working classes have not seen a rise in wages or pensions as compared to the rising living costs due to inflation. Aside from demanding the increase of minimum wages to rupees 21,000 per month for all workers, the strike charter have asked for a minimum monthly pension of Rs 6,000, up from Rs 1,000. Apart from endorsing not only the increase of minimum wages, the MKSS, MKKVPL and RAMU demands that workers under the MGNREGA scheme, who are currently paid less than minimum wage, receive full minimum wage per day. There haven’t been any payments in MGNREGA for more than 3 months by the Central Govt.

Additionally, those working at the grassroots have witnessed the difficult position of those excluded from receiving rations based on technical or logistical reasons, such as not being eligible for a BPL card. The universalisation of the public distribution system is an essential and progressive step in alleviating this major problem faced by the poor.

The All-India General Strike (Bharat Bandh) and its Charter of Demands the full endorsement of the MKSS, MKKVPL and RAMU. Below is a reiteration of the points on the Charter of Demands.

1. Urgent measures for containing price-rise through universalisation of public distribution system and banning speculative trade in commodity market.

2. Containing unemployment through concrete measures for employment generation.

3. Stop anti-worker codification of Labour Laws in the name of “Ease of Doing Business”. Ensure strict enforcement of all existing basic labour laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws.

4. Universal social security coverage for all workers.

5. Minimum wages of not less than Rs 21,000/- per month with provisions of indexation.

6. Give “Worker” status to all Scheme workers as per the unanimous ILC recommendation and pay them wages and all benefits like the government employees.

7. Assured enhanced pension not less than Rs.6,000/- p.m. for the entire working population.

8. Stop disinvestment and strategic sale of Central/State PSUs. Stop merger of Public Sector Banks and strictly recover the NPA loans of the Corporates.

9. Stop contracting out/outsourcing permanent perennial work and ensure payment of same wage and benefits for contract workers as regular workers for same and similar work.

10. Removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund; increase the quantum of gratuity.

11. Compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days from the date of submitting application; and immediate ratification of ILO Conventions C 87 and C 98.

12. Stop FDI in Railways, Insurance, Coal and Defence Sectors.

13. Give complete loan waiver and Guarantee remunerative prices for agricultural products.

Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), Rajasthan Asangathit Mazdoor Union (RAMU), Mazdoor K