MPs slam government for 'apathy' towards workers


Against the backdrop of two-day nationwide strike, the Lok Sabha today saw members attacking the government for its "apathy" towards workers and warning that there could be another agitation if trade unions are not engaged in talks.

The issue was raised during Zero Hour by Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI), who is also leader of All India Trade Union Congress(AITUC).

He said 44 crore workers, who are the mainstay for production in the country, were not getting appropriate remunerations and the government was neglecting them.

Referring to the two-day strike which ended yesterday, Dasgupta said the trade unions did not want to resort to such actions but were forced by the government. He attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying that after the trade unions announced the strike he had made an "innocent appeal through press" for talks. "The Prime Minister offers talks to trade unions through the press," the CPI leader said and questioned if he talks to corporates also through the press.

He said the Prime Minister has formed a committee of four ministers to talk to trade union leaders but in the meeting that took place, Finance Minister P Chidambaram was not present.

"Was it arrogance or apathy," Dasgupta asked. He said Labour Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge also called trade union leaders for talks but he had "nothing to offer".

Dasgupta warned that if the government does not engage with trade unions, there will be another nationwide strike.

CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav associated themselves with Dasgupta.

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