On Saturday, while addressing the 31st Plenary Session of INTUC (Indian Nation Trade Union Congress), Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi attacked PM Modi and accused him of making deliberate attempts to weaken labour-related laws.
Rahul alleged that PM Modi had launched a “big assault” on the workers, and vowed to fight the battle for the farmers.
“If you look at the new laws being made in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana, you will see that Modi has started a big assault on workers,” he said amid applause at INTUC, the trade union wing of the Congress.
“Like we fought for the rights of farmers, we will fight for the cause of the workers and stand with them and would not retreat an inch. We will fight BJP, Modi and RSS,” Rahul added.
Gandhi continued his attack and said that the PM feels that the ‘hire and fire’ policy and weakening of unions, will make the labourers finally work. He also accused PM Modi for being an advocate of the industry.
“I do not agree that our worker is either a shirker or undisciplined… Our worker is scared. He is scared of his future, the future of his children. The worker is scared whether the job he has today will be there tomorrow. Will the factory gate open for him tomorrow,” the Congress leader said.
Gandhi also took credit for not allowing the Modi government to acquire lands of farmers by promulgating the land ordinance thrice. The Congress MPs resisted it and ensured that it was not done, Gandhi announced.
Finally, he assured the INTUC leadership that he would accommodate their representatives in the Parliament and state Assemblies and also in the ministries so that the issues of labour get their due attention.
Gandhi’s attack on Prime Minister Modi came after INTUC chief G Sanjeeva Reddy accused the government of launching an assault on interests of the labourers in various ways.
Reddy alleged that the government was not recognizing INTUC as the largest trade union organisation in the country with 3.31 crore members despite “submission of all documents for verification”.
Former PM Manmohan Singh, who was also present at the event, referred to the September 2, labour union strike to stress on the “dissatisfaction” of the workers with the “anti-labour and unimaginative” economic policies of the NDA government.
“It is generally agreed that we need at least 500 million skilled workers by 2022. The actual pace on the ground is only a fraction of this target,” the former PM said.
At the same time, he said that industrial strife, strikes and lockouts are “not the best means” to resolve unrest. “We must enlarge the available space for resolving industrial problems through peaceful dialogue involving all the stake holders of the tripartite process namely workers, industry and government,” Singh added.
(With inputs from PTI)