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UP Mahapadav: Unorganised Workers Call for Defeat of ‘Anti-Worker’ BJP in 2024 Elections

Abdul Alim Jafri |
The large-scale protest by the unorganised workers coincided with the 81st anniversary of the Quit India movement.
UP Mahapadav

Lucknow: Responding to a call by the Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions, thousands of unorganised sector workers from across the state gathered in Lucknow for a two-day Mahapadav (massive sit–in) on August 9-10 with a 15-point charter of demands.

The list of demands included minimum monthly wages of Rs 26,000, the allocation under Pradhan Mantri and Chief Minister Awas Yojana to labourers, benefits of Ayushman Card Scheme, Rs 3,000 pension guarantee to labourers, the guarantee of free education in all schools under Right to Education for children of labourers, scholarship for children's education, government employee status for all rasoiyas (cooks), Anganwadi, ASHAs, maternity and special monthly leave, EPF, ESI, pension, and social security.

The protest coincided with the 81st anniversary of the Quit India movement. The agitation's slogan was "Corporate Looters, Quit India, Quit Corporate.”

The enthusiastic assertion of workers in the form of the two-day Mahapadav in the state capital was against the “anti-worker, anti-people, communal and divisive policies of the Modi government”. Various labour organisations including CITU, AITUC, and INTUC participated in the Mahapadav against the “anti-labour” policies of the central government.

These unions represented workers from varied sectors such as farm and rural labourers, MGNREGA workers, construction workers, domestic workers, vehicle drivers, e-rickshaw drivers, handcart pullers, weavers, Chikankari artisans, workers in cottage and small industries, Anganwadi workers, ASHAs, mid-day meal workers, brick kiln and mining workers, among others.

Prem Nath Rai, general secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), said that the condition of labourers is the worst in the country. “Laborers are unable to find work. Outsourced workers and daily wagers in government departments are being exploited,” he claimed.

Labour organisations demanded that ASHAs, Anganwadi workers, and midday meal workers also be included under the minimum wages scheme. Further, they demanded that the government withdraw the labour codes. Other demands included the implementation of a minimum pension of Rs 8,000 per month, stopping monetisation or privatisation of public sector industries, increasing the man days under the MGNREGS to 200, extending social security schemes to migrant labourers, and social schemes to all workers in the unorganised sector.

Trade unions called for defeating the Narendra Modi government in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections during the two-day protest. The leaders alleged that "the Modi government is working for the capitalists”. “People are rendered unemployed by continuously privatising government property. The government has stopped new permanent appointments and by implementing four labour codes, the legal rights of the workers are being violated,” they said.

"The leaders of the country's freedom movement had raised slogans against the British on August 9, 1942; today, on August 9, 2023, we are raising slogans demanding the ouster of the Bharatiya Janata Party government to save our country and its people," said a union leader.

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