A day after it was revealed that the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre has initiated to privatize the largest employer in India – the Indian Railways – thousands of workers hit the street all over India against the privatisation bid in a pre-scheduled protest.
Saying that “the Modi Government has demonstrated cruel insensitivity of the basic human needs of the workers and people,” Central Trade Unions – a conglomerate of left-leaning trade unions – demanded that privatization of railways and PSUs be stopped.
“With the opening up of some industrial units, all workers are not being taken back; only a small percentage is finding their place back in jobs and that also on reduced wages and refusal to pay lockdown period salary. Such denial of employment and pressing for wage-reduction has to be unitedly combated,” said CTU.
“The Modi government has caused immense miseries to millions of workers, farmers and other vulnerable sections of the society. Whereas, the government stood only by corporates and big businesses,” said CTU.
Reiterating their opposition to disinvestment and wholesale privatisation of PSUs, the workers’ union said that in the garb of the slogan of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, the Modi government is pushing its privatization agenda.
“The Modi government has decided to either close down or privatise the Public Sector Undertakings. The Finance Minister while announcing the so-called COVID-19 economic relief categorically stated that there will be only 4 PSUs in the strategic sectors and one PSU in the non-strategic sector. Railways, Defence, Coal, ISRO, Atomic Energy, Banks, Insurance, Oil and all Public Sectors are under the process of privatization. Railway Board issued an order that there will not be any recruitment in the Railways in future. All the labour laws are being tinkered in favour of the private corporates,” said CPI general secretary D Raja.
He demanded that at least ₹7500 must be deposited as a relief measure to the bank account of all those people who are affected due to the COVID-19 lockdown.