UNI Asia and Pacific stands in solidarity with our affiliate Rashtriya Majdoor Sangh (RMS) rallying behind the cause of contract workers employed by state owned organization in Pune, India. Over 50 dedicated RMS organizers and leaders, spearheaded by President Sunil Shinde, have embarked on an indefinite hunger strike, commencing on November 1, 2023. Their unwavering demand: An Annual Diwali Bonus equivalent to one month’s salary plus ₹21,000 for thousands of contract workers, on par with their municipal permanent worker counterparts.
Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) recently announced an Annual Bonus for its 15,000 permanent workers. However, in doing so, they disregarded the invaluable contributions made by contract workers who perform similar roles, impacting the daily lives of millions of Punekars. These unsung heroes encompass a wide range of vital roles such as security guards, healthcare workers, cleaners, drivers, water supply personnel, and those involved in cremation services. These workers ensure the safety, hygiene, and well-being of the city’s residents.
Contract workers employed by state owned organizations in India and worldwide play a pivotal role in maintaining the social and economic fabric of our cities. They are the backbone of urban functionality, and RMS firmly believes that any attempt to undermine their rights is nothing less than “an act of anti-national.” Thus, RMS urges the state and national governments to act promptly to ensure social justice for PMC contract workers.
With the labour market increasingly favouring contract workers, it is imperative for the labour union movement to boldly assert that ‘contract workers’ should be treated no differently from ‘permanent workers.’ RMS remains committed to improving employment relations and will continue to demand the regularization of contract workers in all jobs of a permanent nature.
Over the past two years, RMS has been relentlessly fighting for the rights of municipal contract workers. Their efforts have yielded significant victories through collective bargaining, marking a historic milestone for PMC workers.
The current hunger strike, commenced on 1st November 2023, will continue till two essential demands are met:
“I extend my heartfelt solidarity and support to the brave workers and deeply concerned about the health of RMS leader Mr. Sunil Shinde who is currently on an indefinite hunger strike in Pune, India. We stand united in the spirit of solidarity, for the rights of our contract workers employed by state owned organizations in the face of injustice and inequality. We implore the relevant authorities to take immediate action to address the workers’ demands before the situation deteriorates” Rajendra Acharya, Regional Secretary, UNI Asia and Pacific.
UNI Asia & Pacific