In the current situation, with the entire country under a 21-day lockdown, business is being affected for many organisations and employees. The workers in the unorganised sector are set to face the harshest of circumstances in the current scenario, as the lockdown has made it near impossible to find work. United under a common agenda, trade unions have come together to demand financial assistance for the workers in the unorganised sector, irrespective of party affiliation.
Unions have written to the Prime Minister to ensure that Rs. 5000 is transferred to every worker as a wage relief and financial security in the form of a direct benefit transfer, which goes straight into their bank accounts. They have termed it necessary to support the purchasing power of the workers and to facilitate cash flow, to keep the market economy running.
The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has demanded allocation of relief funds for those workers whose workplaces have shut down and who are not receiving any wages at the moment. Other demands include distribution of essential commodities, such as grains and pulses through the Public Distribution System (PDS), along with necessary medicines at affordable prices.
“Large sections of workers, particularly in the unorganised sector comprising around 93% of workers in the country, will be losing their incomes in the face of the unavoidable restrictions due to shut downs. The government needs to ensure that their jobs and incomes are protected and also that they are provided with money to meet their immediate daily requirements. The MSME sector which employs large numbers of workers and which is already suffering from the economic slowdown should be supported by the government through concessional loans and moratorium on their existing loans”, as mentioned in the Centre of Indian Trade Unions’ (CITU) letter to the PM.
Tapan Sen, General Secretary, CITU, has included a list of eleven demands in CITU’s letter to the PM. These include, transfer of Rs. 5000 for informal sector workers up to the age of 25 years and double the amount for those above 25 on a monthly basis, increase in the pension amount for EPS pensioner at the minimum level, free rations and increase pharmaceutical production including testing kits and medicines.
Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal posted on social media today that the state government is going to provide Rs. 5000 to every construction worker in the state so that they can make a living.