What is this neo-liberal economics that we talk about. The basic tenet is that it will be beneficial to society as a whole if the corporates prosper. The theory is that if the Ambanis, Tatas and Adanis prosper, they will invest more and create more industry and therefore more jobs and better jobs. This theory has been thoroughly disproved in practise. After almost thirty years of implementing the neo-liberal economics under both the Congress led UPA and the BJP led NDA, the real wages of workers are almost stagnant. This means that the rise in wages is only almost, on an average, equal to the rise in prices. The worker has got no real benefit.
The Government has, this year, further consolidated the apprenticeship scheme – the scheme whereby workers can be employed for extremely low wages for upto three years and will not be allowed to even get legal benefits like PF, minimum wages, etc. Another method of doing this is to allow for fixed term employment. This means that if the worker is told at the beginning that his employment is only for a fixed term, say two years, or for a fixed project, then he can be removed at the end of that period without any compensation. All such changes are being made to reduce the status of the workers from being permanent workers to mere casual or temporary workers. These are new forms of informal employment which allow for “hire and fire”. All such forms are basically made to keep the workers from asking for their legitimate dues. If they do organise or protest then they can be easily removed.
This is not the only change. The Government is trying to introduce new codes to replace all the earlier laws. The first code, which is already passed in the Rajya Sabha is the Code on Wages. This seeks to consolidate laws regarding Bonus, minimum wage, payment of wages and for equal remuneration. However, the whole of the final draft is at best, an unworkable hodgepodge and, more likely, an attempt to remove the protections given to workers. It does not say what the minimum wage should be. It provides that upto 50% of the Gratuity and terminal compensation of the worker can be deducted by way of fines, etc. Luckily, we have seen such a tumultous session of the Lok Sabha that the new law could not be passed so far.
If workers think of challenging such unjust laws in the courts then they are soon dissuaded by the state in which our judiciary finds itself. A house divided, there are open allegations of corruption against judges, many of which are proved. “Fixing” seems to the norm rather than an exception.
When this years budget was presented, there was nothing in it for the workers. Instead, in the Economic Survey which precedes the budget, there has been an attempt to redefine the term “informal sector” so that the Indian economy can be made to seem better that it is.
On the contrary this government is doing its best to keep the country divided on communal, religious, caste and ethnic lines. It is openly and blatantly espousing Hindutva to suppress the minorities and the dalits.
Today, workers are ready to fight. They are ready to come out into the streets. The massive demonstrations that took place in November when the workers gheraoed Parliament is evidence of this. Many workers are still fighting like the Maruti 13 who are still in jail, the Pricol workers etc. In many places, like in Bhangor, it is workers who are fighting for preserving the environment and for basic democratic rights. What is needed is to create a leadership which can weld this anger and discontent of the workers into a consistent movement which will lead not only the workers but also all the oppressed toilers to a new society – a really democratic society – a socialist society
Workers of the World Unite!
Workers and Oppressed of All Countries Unite!
Fight Against the Neo-Liberal Policies and Its Effects!
Unite For a Just and Equitable Society – For Democracy and Socialism!
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