RSS - Backed Trade Union BMS Announces Protest Against the Suspension of Labour Laws in BJP - Ruled States


The RSS-affiliated trade union BMS on Thursday condemned the “total withdrawal” of labor laws by BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, and announced a countrywide agitation against it.

The BMS also said migrant workers' problems have aggravated during the novel corona virus-triggered lockdown mainly because there is "gross violation" of laws by most of the states (14 May 2020, RSS-Backed Trade Union BMS to Protest Suspension of Labour Laws in the BJP-Ruled States, The Wire).

The other states including Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Goa and Odisha have either already implemented or were planning to increase the daily working hours from 8 to 12. This is unheard of history and is rare even in most undemocratic countries.

The BMS State units have written to the Chief Ministers but only the Chief Minister of MP has shown the courtesy to meet the agitators’ delegation.


RSS-Backed BMS Gets the Support of 5 More Trade Unions 

Protesting against the move, the unions decided to hit the streets on May 20 and put forward their demands with local administrative authorities.

A joint forum of central trade unions including RSS-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has vowed to launch a double attack, mobilizing support in streets and a petition in court, against state governments for relaxing labor laws.

Confederation of Central Trade Unions (CONCENT), a group of six unions, in a joint statement on Monday said that the ordinances issued by Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh may be detrimental to the interest of workers.

As part of the multi-pronged protest plan, the office-bearers would organize meetings at district headquarters and in state capitals.

The decision was taken at the BMS national office-bearers web-meeting held on May 13, in which it strongly condemned the total withdrawal of labour laws in UP, MP and Gujarat. The meeting discussed the pandemic situation and its effects on various sectors.

It welcomed the package declared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the details announced in the first stage by the Finance Minister (Pti Dilip Mandal, Shubhangi Misra, and Soniya Agrawal, 14 May 2020, RSS-Backed BMS Condemns Withdrawal of Labour Laws by BJP-Ruled States Announces Protest, The Print).

The joint forum said necessary steps and consultation should be initiated at various organizational levels to ensure the success of these programs under the banner of CONCENT".

Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC), National Front of Indian Trade Unions (NFITU) Hind Majdoor Kisan Panchayat (HMKP) and Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) are part of the joint forum.

Trade unions have been up in arms against various state governments such as BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat for suspending various labor laws or sections of it to attract investment and create jobs.

While Uttar Pradesh government decided to suspend as many as 30 labor laws for 3 years, Madhya Pradesh diluted state labor laws through a combination of the ordinance and executive order.

Many states such as Haryana, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh is also expected to relax its labor laws. (Kumar, Nirbhay, 14 May 2020, Protests against Labour Law Reforms: RSS-Backed BMS Gets Support of 5 More Trade Unions, Business Today). But so far, the decision of the UP government has been the most revolutionary one.

As a result of the suspension of key labor laws, workers would have to cede many of their rights such as the right to form unions, right to raise an industrial dispute, right to have grievance redressal machinery, right to gratuity, and right to have fair machinery in case of their dismissal for alleged misconduct (Kumar, Nirbhay. 18 May 2020, Protests against Labour Law Reforms: RSS-Backed BMS Gets Support of 5 More Trade Unions, Business Today).

The agitation planned by the BMS included a letter-writing campaign by local unions to the district authorities to raise the issues of wage payment, job losses, and relief measures for workers from Saturday till May 18.

Protests against the States’ suspension of labor laws and extension of working hours would be held at the district and industrial estates on May 20, while maintaining social distance. State, industry, company, and sector-level conventions would be organized on May 30 and May 31 to press for the demands of the workers and withdrawal of the labour law suspension.


Written by – Gourav Chowdhury

Edited by – Daity Talukdar


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