Workers and employees in West Bengal’s transport sector have come together to present a comprehensive list of 14 demands. Their primary request is for a minimum pension of Rs 9,000 a month for all transport-sector workers, excluding state transport employees. Additionally, they are seeking employment letters and identity cards, eight-hour workdays, the implementation of social security schemes, including health insurance, and the cessation of extortion by individuals protected by the police and ruling party.
These demands were articulated during a workshop organised by the West Bengal Road Transport Workers Federation, at the centre of Indian trade unions (CITU) state office in Kolkata, in the presence of Tapan Sen, general secretary, CITU. Sen emphasised the importance of a unified movement against the prevailing “autocracy”. He urged transport workers to remember the historical significance of workers’ movements and to engage in political education to increase their influence.
A draft report was presented by Nepal Deb Bhattacharya, CITU leader who stressed the need for outreach to transport workers at all levels. Anadi Sahu, committee general secretary, CITU West Bengal highlighted the administrative tyranny faced by transport workers, especially in the private sector, and the erosion of their rights. To counter this, he called for a strengthened organisational effort.
A seven-point organisational programme, as well as a 14-point demand list for road transport workers, and five additional demands for the welfare of the state’s transport sector were presented.