Govt should take responsibility of all employees/workers who are jobless, on unpaid leaves

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If The Central or State Governments think employers have no responsibility to pay their employees during this crisis because they are not generating funds so employees have the right to ask the governments to pay their bills as they are not also getting any salary.

The Government should take the responsibilities of all employees who are jobless, on unpaid leaves or facing wage cut.

Our Demands to Central / State Government :

Government must Pay House Rent / Interests On Pending Bank EMI, till we get next salary

Government must Pay All Medical Expenses of our Family and Parents, till we get next salary

Government must Pay All Educational Fess of our children, till we get next salary.

Government must Provide us Grocery Consumables, till we get next salary.

Government must Pay Electricity Bill,  Water Bill, till we get next salary.

On 20th March 2020, Ministry of Labour & Employment - GOI had clearly advised all employers not to terminate any employee from job or not to reduce their wages. Again on 29th March, vide order No 40 -3/2020-DM-I(A) of Home Secretary, GOI has issued additional directions under Section 10(2)(i) of the Disaster Management Act 2005 which clearly directs that all the employers shall make payment of wages of their workers at their workplace on the due date, without any deduction for the period their establishments are under closure during the lock down.

Unfortunately hundreds of  companies from different sectors including IT/ITES Sector, have issued unlawful retrenchment/wage cut notice to its employees of different level. Like all other unions, All India IT and ITES Employees' Union have also sent several complaints to the Principal Secretaries and Labour Commissioners of the concerned states and to The Secretary to GOI, Ministry of Labour & Employment. CITU have forwarded 22 letters to The Secretary to GOI, Ministry of Labour & Employment regarding wage cut and termination by different employers. Most of the cases are not resolved and affected workers are not getting any salary.

Now, on 15th May The Supreme Court has asked the government not to take any coercive action till next week against the companies and employers who are unable to pay full wages to their employees during the nationwide lock down due to the corona virus pandemic. The top court issued a notice on a plea of Hand Tools Manufacturers Association. The bench said there may be small industries, which are affected due to the lock down as they can sustain for say 15 odd days but not more and if they cannot earn, how are they going to pay their workers. It added that if the government does not help these small companies, then they will not be able to pay to their workers. Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said that he had a conference on the issue and needs to file a detailed response on the pleas.

Unfortunately On 17th May, through an order, the MHA has ceased all its previous orders, including the March 29 order that mandated payment of wages to employees during the lock down period. So, from 18th May, any action against an employer by the labour department would need be in accordance with applicable labour laws.

So, Government response to the petition is actually cancellation of its own order, in favor of the employers. Although the GOI has denied to extend its support to the workers and as Labour is a subject in the Concurrent List under the Constitution of India, State Governments have authority to compel the employers to pay the employees, during this crisis. Till date, AIITEU have sent many letters to different state labour commissioners asking immediate interventions but most of the issues are not even addressed properly. Still we hope that at least the State Governments will extend their support in favor of the working class.

Now, after the latest MHA Order dated May 17, we are observing huge no of Layoff in different industries. We fear that maximum terminated Employees will not find a job in next 8/10 months. So, what will be the future of these  employees? How will their family survive? According to these Companies, they have no money to pay their employees, as they are not generating any revenue today for their company. But what about the revenue accumulated in past days from huge extra work hours, donated by all these employees? Most of the employees in IT/ITES Sector or Graphic Sector work more than 12 hours in a day. Today Companies want to implement 'no work no pay' or 'less work less pay'. But did they implement  'More Work More Pay' in past days? Did they pay for extra hours to the employees? No, they didn't. So now, they have to take the  responsibility of their employees in this crisis. The GOI must order the employers to share 50% of their last 5 years profit to support the employees instead of forcing them to resign. But if Government can't compel the employers to pay its employees, then they should provide funds as like as we see in every budget provision for the business houses.

As we had learned, the law protects everybody equally. But when the law considers an employer and an employee as equal irrespective of their capital owned, then the law is actually protecting the wealth of an employer form the affected workers. So, if the Government can consider the employers from not paying the salary, then the workers also have the rights not to pay bank EMI, electricity bill, medical bill, school fees of children, till they don't get salary.

Again, under Article 21 of Indian Constitution, we, the common people have the 'Right to livelihood', 'Right to Live with Human Dignity' which must be ensured by the Government and the right to live guaranteed in any civilized society implies the right to food, water, descent environment, education, medical care and shelter.

So, our demand is simple, if Government can't compel the employers to pay its employees, then they have to take care of the responsibilities of an unpaid employee also. We have started the petition to raise our issues to the Government. Please sign this petition if you support these demands.