Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh asks state units to oppose changes in labour laws

Migrants from Raigad district of Maharashtra walk through a tunnel along the easter freeway, in Mumbai. Photo: PTI
The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) on Monday asked all its units in different states to oppose the proposed changes in labour laws, and also write to respective chief ministers to "stop the unilateral withdrawal of labour laws".

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have proposed amendments to labour laws, which has been opposed by several political parties and trade unions.

The BMS is the trade union arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Its opposition to labour laws is somewhat similar to the RSS affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh opposing the Narendra Modi government’s proposed land bill in 2015. The Modi government was then forced to drop the bill.

The strident opposition by the BMS is a departure from its recent approach of 'constructive opposition' towards the BJP ruled governments at the Centre and in states.

The BMS has failed to find common cause with rest of the central trade unions during the tenure of the Narendra Modi government.

However, in a press statement on Monday, BMS chief Virjesh Upadhyay asked all state units of the organisation to write to their respective chief ministers to stop the “unilateral withdrawal” of labour laws and ask these governments to discuss with trade unions on every step taken in the labour sector.

The state governments have not so far been able to convince the public how labour laws are hurdles in economic activities and about the emergent situation requiring the extreme step of suspension of labour laws, Upadhyay stated.

“On the contrary, for the labour, the Covid-19 situation has created an extraordinary situation of massive economic losses and job losses, losses of livelihood besides financial, psychological and social issues. Urgent measures need to be taken to address this,” Upadhyay said.

He asked the state units to ask chief ministers for details of road maps for economic activities and employment generation after Covid-19.

The Visakhapatnam incident related to safety and tragic deaths of migrant, or workers compelled to sleep on railway tracks in Aurangabad shows the grave situation in the labour sector, he said.

The BMS statement comes a day after 10 other central trade unions issued a strong statement opposing the proposed changes in labour laws.

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