The first national conference of All India Scheme Workers Federation (AISWF) organized in Patna on September 09 and 10 resolved to intensify their struggle for their rights and dignity. The conference also called for a united struggle against the anti-worker policies and demanded status of government employees for all scheme workers.
Addressing the opening session of the conference, CPIML General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said that the Scheme workers are among the most overworked and underpaid segments of India's women workers. From education and healthcare to welfare of women and children, millions of women have been working hard to run the social sector programmes of central and state governments, but they are not even recognised as government employees. Governments treat them essentially as voluntary activists in keeping with the traditionally assigned social role and image of women as care givers. During the Covid19 pandemic, ASHA workers often had to work without proper kits, some even dying in the process and many were retrenched for protesting.
Various workers like ASHA, Anganwadi, Rasoiya (Mid Day Meal workers) and Mamta among others workers from cross the country participated in the conference. Scheme workers everywhere are now up in arms against the injustice meted on them. Bihar recently witnessed a month-long strike by ASHA workers which resulted in some partial recognition as workers along with a modest increase in remuneration.
“The process of united assertion of scheme workers is now gaining momentum across sectors and states,” added Com. Dipankar.
The conference unanimously elected Geeta Mandal as National President and Shashi Yadav as National General Secretary. Saroj Chaubey was declared Honorary President and Rambali were elected as Senior Vice President. A 13-member office bearer team will run the federation. A 45-member National Council was also elected representative work of different affiliated union in several states.
Addressing the conference All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) National President V Shankar said that Modi Government has betrayed the working class of country including the scheme workers. The working class of country is hell bent to throw the Modi Government out of power in coming General Elections in 2024. Saluting the struggles of scheme workers, he said that their movement has added new chapter in the history of the working-class movement of country. He reiterated the resolve of AICCTU, with which AICWF is affiliated, to take scheme workers movement to its logical conclusion.
Addressing the concluding session of the conference newly elected National General Secretary Shashi Yadav said that while the whole nation was told during Covid lockdown to put up in home, it was the scheme workers who stepped out taking risk of life to serve the people and nation at the critical juncture. But they were betrayed by Modi government and even State Governments are not sensitive to their demands. AICWF will take forward their just demands and intensify their movement for rights and justice.
The conference passed several important political resolution demanding living wages, social security and government status for a crore strong contingent of scheme workers in the country. They should be extended pay of government employees, PF and Gratuity benefits. It declared that a nation-wide campaign would be launched between October and December culminating with Delhi Chalo program to encircle anti-worker Modi Government. The date of protest program in Delhi would be announced soon. It was also decided to organize nationwide strike in consultation with other scheme workers scheme organization in near future.
The conference condemned increasing attacks on women security and dignity throughout the country and expressed concern on increasing instances of gender violence at workplace. It expressed solidarity with Manipur women and wrestler’s movement. It extended support to ongoing agitation of scheme workers in states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. A call was also given to make program of farmers and workers joint platform from November 26-29 a grand success.
Hundreds of delegates from Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, West Bengal, Maharashtra, UP, Uttarakhand and a few other states are attended the conference. The inaugural session was addressed among others by Comrade Rajiv Dimri, General Secretary of AICCTU, Comrade Meena Tiwari, General Secretary of AIPWA and Comrade Manju Prakash, President of Bihar unit of All India Kisan Mahasabha.