As fight against farm laws continues, a mahapanchayat in Ludhiana to focus on labour laws

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Retired IAS officer S R Ladhar and other retired bureaucrats announce the upcoming ‘Kirti Kisan' Mahapanchayat in Ludhiana on March 28. Gurmeet Singh

Amid the ongoing protest against farm laws, the focus is also now on the proposed changes in the labour laws with more than 300 retired government officers set to be a part of Kirti Kisan Mahapanchayat this Sunday that will be attended by farmer leaders as well.

Retired IAS officer S R Ladhar, who was in Ludhiana Wednesday morning along with few other retired bureaucrats to announce the upcoming ‘Kirti Kisan’ Mahapanchayat in Ludhiana on March 28, said: “Here Kirti means the labourer and Kisan is the farmer. Hence, at the moment we are already discussing farm laws but no one is discussing about the new labour laws which are equally dangerous for the labourers. This will be a first of its kind effort to discuss labour laws at length along with farm laws.”

He added, “Four labour laws have many dangerous clauses like labourer will now be paid on hourly basis and not any minimum wages. So, in that case Sunday holiday will no longer exist. Employees need to give 60 days prior notice for doing strike against 14 days notice as per previous act, the employer can be fined but can’t be imprisoned in case of any anomaly. And employees cannot go to labour courts to complain against any anomalies. Night shift for women have been allowed, provision of PF/earned leave no longer exist. One can make union only if 51 per cent of the employees agree to it rather than 10 per cent or 100 employees (whichever is more) as per previous act. There are many other anomalies as well and we will discuss them all in Sunday’s mahapanchayat.”

Jaswant Singh, retired IRS officer who was also present on Wednesday, said, “Government is for the welfare of people, but here it seems that government is doing welfare of corporates only whether it comes in the case of farmers or labourers. Now farmers are travelling the entire country to expose the anti-people face of this government and I am sure people will realise the truth. ”

Ladhar said, “I strongly believe that farmers should not come back to Punjab till their demands are not met… if farmers will lose, this country will lose. Government is for the people, but when the government does not think of the common man, that government needs to be changed.”

Ladhar told that more than 300 retired officers will be part of the Mahapanchayat along with farmers as well. Farmer leaders Balbir Singh Rajewal, president of BKU (Rajewal), Harmeet Singh Kadian, president of BKU (Kadian) — both members of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) will be attending this mahapanchayat apart from Lachman Singh Sewewala, general secretary of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union (PKMU). Advocate Bhanupartap, labour activist Nodeep Kaur and few other leaders will also be coming.

“Apart from this religious leaders from all religions will also come to give a picture that people from all religions, urban as well as rural are together in the fight against farm laws and now are ready to fight against labour laws as well,” said Ladhar while talking to The Indian Express.

A brainstorming session will be held after the Sunday’s mahapanchayat in which it will be decided how to make people aware about changes in labour laws along with farm laws so as to make workers aware as what is going to happen with them ahead, said Ladhar.

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