The talks between trade unions and labour ministry scheduled for Friday evening were supposed to discuss all labour-related reforms and pending demands of unions related to enhancing minimum wage, pension and overall the workers welfare measures. Photo: HT
The talks between trade unions and labour ministry scheduled for Friday evening were supposed to discuss all labour-related reforms and pending demands of unions related to enhancing minimum wage, pension and overall the workers welfare measures. Photo: HT

Major trade unions boycott talks with government on reform initiatives

Trade unions write to labour minister Santosh Gangwar, saying centre is deliberately trying to break trade union movement by not inviting INTUC to talks over reform steps

New Delhi: All major central trade unions except the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh have decided to boycott talks over various reform initiatives with the union labour ministry after the ministry did not invite a union affiliated to the Congress Party.

A group of 10 central unions has written to Union labour minister Santosh Gangwar, saying that the Centre is deliberately trying to break the trade union movement and create fissures in its unity by not inviting the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC).

The talks scheduled for Friday evening were supposed to discuss all labour-related reforms and pending demands of unions related to enhancing minimum wage, pension and overall the workers welfare measures.

“We strongly protest the deliberate measure to exclude INTUC, part of the joint trade union movement that has been raising the demands," the unions said in a joint letter to Gangwar.

“This is nothing but an ill-intentioned move to divide the unity of the trade unions and the workers. We advise the government to desist from such divisive tactics," the union wrote in the letter.

The labour reform process has stagnated over the last two and half years following opposition from unions and delays at the labour ministry and as a group of ministers led by finance minister Arun Jaitley has not reached consensus on key concerns.

The joint refusal of the trade unions to come to the table may possibly create more headache for the government as well as the labour ministry as it would lead to further confrontation between the government and the unions in the election season.

The unions also said the ministry is not serious about the talks as it issued some invitations less than 48 hours before the meeting, making it impossible for some of the union representatives to prepare or come from other cities.

A labour ministry spokesperson declined to comment.

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