Archives  >  2020  >  January  >  8th

India Strikes

1. What’s the story?

India is bracing for a massive industrial strike on Wednesday. Ten Central Trade Unions and more than 25 crore people are expected to join in around the nation. Their reason? The proposed Industrial Relations Code .

Tell me more.   

The Industrial Relations Code would replace three older labour laws – Trade Unions Act, 1926, Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 and The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, according to this labour ministry release.

One contentious provision in the bill is fixed-term contracts, which allow companies to directly hire workers for the short term as opposed to hiring workers permanently or through contractors. This will help sectors that require temporary workers seasonally, such as textiles and manufacturing, industry experts say. But it might be giving too many concessions to employers, said Amit Basole from the Centre for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University.

While it offers flexibility to employers, it may impact the number of permanent jobs in such establishments, thereby increasing contractualisation in the workforce.”

According to numerous experts, the impact of these “fixed-term” contracts might be disastrous for the common man. Fixed-term workers may be paid less than permanent employees, with no job security or severance package.

“Globally, workers with fixed-term contracts had a significantly higher rate of transition into unemployment or into inactivity as compared to regular workers, suggesting less stability in work or income for workers on fixed-term contracts, according to a March 2015 International Labour Organization policy brief.”
The Ministry of Labour has failed to assure on any of the demands of workers which called a meeting on January 2, 2020. The attitude of the government is that of contempt towards labour as we construe from its policies and actions,” the 10 CTUs said in a joint statement.
“We expect participation of not less than 25 crore of working people in the forthcoming National General Strike on January 8, 2020, to be followed by many more actions seeking reversal of the anti-worker, anti-people, anti-national policies of the Government,” it said.” 

So, what now?

Most of these grievances are against the Central Government, which has asked public sector employees to dissuade workers from participating in protests and strikes. The Government has also asked its employees to prepare contigency plans so that industries are not negatively affected.

Keep your eyes on this space. We’ll keep you updated.

2. Where else should I be keeping my eyes on?

Jawaharlal Nehru University, that’s where. Protests continue in one of the top universities of the nation, that saw violence being unleashed on its students last week. No arrests, however, have been made till date.

“Two days after the mob attack in JNU, no arrests have been made by the Delhi Police, which received more flak on Tuesday from opposition parties and student groups as it came to light that twin FIRs were filed on the night of the campus violence based on the varsity’s previous vandalism complaints naming injured students union president Aishe Ghosh and others. 

Breaking his silence, Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, who is facing demands of resignation from the Left-controlled students union, said the incident was unfortunate and appealed to the students to put the past behind, but only broached superficially the allegations of delayed action by authorities during the January 5 rampage by masked attackers.”

3. What more?

Delhi is set to vote for its new Government in February. And according to certain experts, BJP may be inadvertently helping its arch rival gain pole position in the run-up to the polls

“What will happen in the Delhi polls in February 2020?

Despite his shrinking political base (in particular, disillusionment of the urban middle class), if Arvind Kejriwal wins again (even if only marginally), it will be in large part due to the hapless state unit of Delhi BJP which, riven with internecine turf wars between ineffective political leaders, seems destined not to win on its own (unless rescued by Modi and Shah).

This pitiable state of affairs of Delhi BJP is all the more appalling as Delhi was once the nucleus of the erstwhile Jan Sangh, and subsequently BJP. To fully understand the present situation, let us, briefly step back into history.

BJP’s no-show in Delhi, so far, has propelled Kejriwal to pole position in the run-up to the Assembly elections

BJP’s singular political dominance in Delhi for over 4 decades, from the 50s to late 90s, was backed by the indomitable spirit of Punjabi refugees

Delhi unit represents a picture of false unity of political interests that are inherently opposed to each other

By making personal attacks on Kejriwal, BJP is making the same fatal mistake that Congress made with PM Modi

BJP’s record in running Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is blighted by apathy and inefficiency” 

4. Anything else?

In Kashmir, which still remains under virtual communication lockdown, clashes erupted in the Srinagar area after a 16-year-old was killed when his car collided with a police vehicle.

“Massive clashes erupted in Srinagar’s Nowgam area Tuesday after a 16-year-old boy was crushed to death by a vehicle used by the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Armed Battalion while on his way to tuition classes.

The boy was identified as Tehseen Nazir, a student of Candid Public School, where his father Nazir Ahmed works as a peon. Ahmed described Tehseen as “the light of his eyes” that had been brutally snatched away from him.

The incident took place at around 9:30 am Tuesday. People angered by the accident as well as the police not returning the body of the deceased youth set up barricades to block the road and engaged the police in violent clashes that continued throughout the day.

The clashes resulted in injuries to at least four people, including a woman, who were admitted to a nearby hospital for treatment. Hospital authorities told ThePrint the injured also included a 62-year old shopkeeper named Mohammad Yousuf, who was left wounded after a tear gas shell pierced through his thigh.”

5. Is that all?

In Goa, these girls are quietly revolutionising Indian football. And you probably haven’t heard of them. 

“Equality is tackling its way to the frontlines of the football field too. The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship set several viewership records, with FIFA estimating a total global audience of 1 billion spectators. Closer to home, the Indian Women’s National Football team jumped six places to reach rank 57 worldwide—a hundred places higher than the Men’s team which ranked 157. Despite this, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) didn’t bother to hold one of the most important Women’s Football tournaments—the National Football Championship—for four years between 2011 and 2014, and cancelled it again in 2018. 

“All of them had really interesting and different stories,” Gupte tells VICE. “Some of them had grown up playing football with their guy friends, but never had the chance to play on a team in a structured way. Others had faced opposition and reluctance from families who didn’t want them to play. One of them is actually now a coach and is training younger girls to play. As someone who grew up playing sports, I know that I couldn’t envision a future in it back then; it was a distant dream. We have such a long way to go, but I’m sure we’ll get there.” ”

6. Before you leave…

Take a look at the Alaskan ghost town of Kennecott Mines

“In 1900, a pair of prospectors hiking near Alaska’s Kennicott glacier discovered an outcrop of copper ore on a mountainside about 100 miles inland from Valdez. Soon, several mines were developed, and a small base camp grew into a mill town dominated by enormous processing buildings. Kennecott Mines (yes, the town name is spelled differently from the glacier’s) operated for nearly 30 years, until the ore was depleted and the remote town was abandoned in 1938. Kennecott’s massive structures sat deserted for decades, until the Alaskan tourism market developed…”

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