BMS joins Congress, Left unions to oppose PSU disinvestment

Logo of BMS
The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), will hold a protest march from the Ramlila Maidan to Parliament Street here on Friday to protest the Narendra Modi government’s economic policies.

The BMS has said it will submit a 22-point charter of demands to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The FM chairs the five-member inter-ministerial council that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had constituted to look at issues related to workers.

The BMS protest comes on the heels of a three-day sit-in protest by the other 11 central trade unions. The BMS had boycotted that protest, terming them “politically motivated”.

Among its demands, the BMS wants a stop to foreign direct investment (FDI) and also an end to the Centre’s plan to disinvest and privatise public sector undertakings (PSUs). The 12-point charter of demands of the other 11 central trade unions has also called for a stop to disinvestment in PSUs.

There is much that is common between the charter of demands of the BMS and the charter of demands of the other 11 central trade unions (see chart).

These 11 trade unions held a three-day protest at New Delhi’s Parliament Street on November 9-11, in which thousands of workers from across the country had participated.

They had presented their charter of demands to Minister of State for Labour and Employment (Independent Charge) Santosh Kumar Gangwar on November 7. BMS leaders had also attended the meeting along with leaders of the other 11 trade unions.
Subsequent to their sit-in, the other 11 central trade unions now plan to continue and complete their joint district-level conventions by the first week of January 2018. 

They have also announced district-level ‘satyagrahas’ in the last week of January. The date for these protests is yet to be decided. They have threatened sectoral/industry-level joint strikes as and when the Centre takes measures to privatise these sectors. The trade unions have also decided to protest on the day of the presentation of the Union Budget if it contains anti-worker measures. They plan to meet after the presentation of the Budget to plan their future course of action, including a nationwide labour strike.

Prominent among these 11 central trade unions are the INTUC (Indian National Trade Union Congress, affiliated to the Congress), AITUC (All India Trade Union Congress, affiliated to the Communist Party of India), CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Unions, affiliated to the CPI-M) and the Hind Mazdoor Sabha. Others are the NTUC, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC.

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