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Trade unions feel BMS has compromised workers’ interests

Sources from the other unions have claimed that the BMS, affiliated to the RSS, has changed its stand on government policies.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi |
December 3, 2014 2:19:49 am

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) move to start interactions between the BJP-led government and Sangh-affiliated outfits seems to have driven a wedge between the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and other trade unions.

Sources from the other unions have claimed that the BMS, affiliated to the RSS, has changed its stand on government policies. This, they added, has fuelled apprehensions that the BMS has prioritised government’s interests over workers’ interests. Member of a Leftist workers’ outfit said that since 2009, all trade unions, irrespective of the political party they are affiliated to, have opposed neo-liberal policies. “Its no longer the same. The BMS does not seem keen on strong protests. Although we are still together on some issues, there is a visible change in their approach,” he observed.

G Sanjeeva Reddy of INTUC said BMS has agreed to join the agitation against the government’s anti-worker policies, but it’s not clear as to what kind of agitation it will participate in. “The BMS says that the government should be given time, at least a year…BMS has to choose between the decisions taken by central trade unions and the RSS,” Reddy said.

Another trade union leader said BMS leader B N Roy frequently said that these days strikes are not the way to protest. “This has triggered apprehensions that BMS may dilute its stand on many issues,” he added.
Citing an instance, he said the BMS refused to take part in the November 24 coal sector strike. “There was a consensus regarding the strike among all five federations in the coal sector. But after the government issued the coal ordinance (on October 21) and   the federations met to decide the next step, BMS abstained,” he added.

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Trade union leaders also claimed that the Centre was doling out special favours to unions to keep them affiliated to the RSS.

M Krishnan, secretary general of Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers said just after the BJP government took over, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad granted BMS’ Bharatiya Postal Employees Federation (BPEF) and its affiliated unions facilities meant for recognised unions. Alleging that the move violated norms, he said: “As per rules, the first union should have 35 per cent of workers as its members and the second should have 15 per cent. The BPEF and its affiliated groups have less than 4 per cent.”

The trade unions’ fears might not be entirely unfounded. In a recent interaction with The Indian Express, BMS general secretary Brijesh Upadhyay said the outfit will not support “politically motivated” decisions and added that strike was the last option. “We think the current government is trying to find solutions to the issues we raised,” he added.

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First published on: 03-12-2014 at 02:19:49 am
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