World Federation of Trade Unions

The following statement was issued today by the joint platform of Central Trade Unions in Support of the All India Strike of Scheme Workers on 24 September 2021   CENTRAL TRADE UNIONS DEMAND LEGAL ENTITLEMENTS AS WORKERS TO ALL SCHEME WORKERS   EXPRESS SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT TO THE ALL INDIA STRIKE OF SCHEME WORKERS ON 24 SEPTEMBER 2021   The Joint Platform of Scheme Workers has decided to go for an all India Strike of Scheme workers on 24 September 2021 on their long pending demands of safety, risk allowance, insurance coverage and regularization, minimum wages and pension. Nearly one crore Scheme Workers including the Anganwadi, ASHA and Mid Day Meal workers are delivering the basic services of nutrition and health to the majority of the people, risking their lives during the pandemic. They are the link between the government and the people. 10 lakh ASHA workers and facilitators are performing round the clock duty, without leave; they are asked to go door to door to conduct surveys, reporting the cases, getting tests done, getting medical help to the infected, monitoring the patients, follow up with the recovered ones and so on. These are in addition to the vaccination duties for almost 8-9 hours a day. Nearly 26 lakh anganwadi workers and helpers under ICDS who are also performing similar duties along with ASHA workers and also distributing the ration door to door to the beneficiaries. Nearly 27 lakh Mid Day Meal workers supply ration door to door to the school going children and perform duties in community centres and quarantine centres. Many other workers under the National Health Mission (NHM) including the 108 Ambulance workers are also performing their duty in the fight against Covid 19.  Workers under schemes like NCLP, NRLM all of them work at the grassroots level among the community risking their own lives of and of their family members. But they are not provided with any safety equipments, even masks or sanitizers. They are not entitled to any risk allowance or compensation. The Rs.50 lakh insurance coverage which the government declared with much fanfare did not reach most of the families of the scores of these frontline workers who lost their lives. The payment of the meager remuneration which is far below minimum wages (Rs.1000 per month for ten months in case of mid day meal workers) is also pending since last three to seven months in many states. The government is criminally silent in a denial mode on the recommendations of the 45th ILC on regularisation, minimum wages and pension for the scheme workers. The Central Government has not included the scheme workers in the category of workers. Even for registration in the E Shram Portal, although some of the scheme workers are included, many other scheme workers are left out. When the majority of the people suffered from loss of income and jobs and resultant poverty and there was much more demand for universal free quality pubic healthcare, through the central budget 2021-22, the Central Government has cut down the allocations for the schemes. In Mid-day meal, allocation has been cut down by Rs. 1400 crore from what has been spent last year. In ICDS, the allocation has been reduced by 30% compared to allocation in last year’s budget. In NHM there was no substantial increase even to provide the life insurance of frontline workers. In addition, the government is going ahead with privatization of these schemes as well. The national Digital Health Mission and other proposals of privatization of district hospitals etc are brought in health sector. In the ICDS, the government…

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