The government has indefinitely deferred the two-day 47th Indian Labour Conference that was to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 26 amid boycott calls from trade unions, including RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS).
In a briefly written communication to trade unions on Tuesday, the labour ministry informed that “the ILC has been postponed” adding that the “inconvenience caused is regretted”, three trade union members said.
Several trade unions had last week expressed their displeasure over the exclusion of Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) from the 47th Indian Labour Conference (ILC) on February 26-27. Congress-affiliated INTUC was not extended an invitation for the conference, following which 10 central trade unions in a joint letter last week had written to Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar describing the move as discriminatory and against the spirit of tripartism.
Separately, in a meeting of its Kendriya Karya Samithi (national executive committee) held in Gujarat earlier this month, BMS had opposed the government’s anti-labour announcements in Budget, threatening to protest outside the ILC venue on 26th and had also called for a nationwide agitation on February 20 to protest against “anti-labour policies”.
“We received a two-line communication from the government today (Tuesday) that the ILC has been postponed. The government has not communicated any new date for the event so far,” BMS General Secretary Virjesh Upadhyay said. “The government’s policies are anti-labour. We had planned protests on 26th (February). The government has taken note of it,” he added.
The unions had also expressed displeasure over not taking action on the unanimous recommendations of the 43rd, 44th and 45th ILCs especially on formulation of minimum wages, same wages and benefit for same work as regular workers for contract labour.
The BMS had asked for increasing honorarium to anganwadi workers and bringing them under social security coverage, reimbursement of cess amount to concerned labour welfare boards affected due to GST; enhancing EPS pension from Rs 1000/per month to Rs 5000 and providing special funds to Sick PSUs which can be revived.
It had also sought a hike in income tax exemptions to salaried sections up to Rs 5 lakh, withdrawing anti-labour provisions bringing under the garb of labour law reforms, hiking unorganised social security fund up to Rs 2,000 crore and implementation of Supreme Court verdict on Equal pay to Equal work.
The 47th session of ILC was scheduled to be held after a gap of three years.