About ten lakh construction workers, under the banner of the Construction Workers’ Federation of India (CWFI), have gone on strike in various parts of the country. The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the parent body of CWFI, congratulated the workers on Friday for accomplishing a two-day strike to build pressure for their various demands.
“The CWFI, which is spearheading this largest ever seen strike in the mostly unorganised sector, has sent a charter of demands to both the Centre and State Governments demanding that the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act should not be tampered with and merged with the Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions Code, 2020,” a press release by CITU said.
Reiterating CWFI’s demands, the central trade union added that the “Centre should strengthen the state welfare boards for construction workers by supporting pension expenditure. The third demand is protection of the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 and the Building and other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act (BOCW), 1996 and the Cess Act of 1998. The other demands are reduction in the prices and the GST on construction materials and no 100% FDI in the construction sector.”
Speaking to NewsClick, CWFI national vice-president Debanjan Chakraborty, said that the apathy shown to construction by Central and state governments was on “an equal footing”, adding that both were “anti-working class.”
NewsClick also spoke with striking construction workers in Kolkata, who alleged that their wages, which stood at Rs 270-300 per day ten years ago, continued to be at the same levels even now.
CITU welcomed the response to the call for a strike on December 2-3. “The response is overwhelming - the reports are pouring. The initial strike reports from Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Rajasthan, Punjab, J&K, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra, Telangana, Tripura, Jharkhand – indicate that around one million construction workers have participated in the strike, demonstrations and picketing held in front of the Central and State Labour Department offices. The memoranda have been submitted to State Labour Commissioner Office, Central Labour Commissioner, Panchayat, and BDO offices.
Seeing the response to strikes in the unorganised sector, CITU along with other central trade unions are hoping to build more sectoral level struggles which would strengthen the resolve of the working-class in raising its voice during the Winter Session of the Parliament.