First National Conference of All India Scheme Workers’ Federation
With the resolve to intensify the struggle for the rights of scheme workers, the first all India conference of All India Scheme Workers’ Federation (AISWF) concluded successfully on 9-10 September in the auditorium of Gate Public Library in Patna. The flag was hoisted by Comrade Madina Sheikh from Maharashtra. CPIML General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, CPIML Bihar State Secretary Comrade Kunal and AICCTU president comrade Shankar paid rich tributes to martyrs along with the leaders of scheme workers movement from all over the country. The entire place was vibrant with pictures and banners of the energetic struggle of scheme workers.
The conference began with an inaugural session presided by Comrade Shashi Yadav, the outgoing convener of AISWF. Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya addressed the session along with other guest speakers.
While addressing the conference Comrade Shashi Yadav said, “several important schemes of the country are actually run by around one crore scheme workers on the field. More than 98% of the scheme workers are women. The way the central and state governments are refusing to recognise the rights of the scheme workers is a blatant example of their anti-worker and anti-women attitude. It is the same government that has set a shameful track record of anti women governance. If, on the one hand, the BJP led central government has consistently used its machinery to shield one after another accused of sexual assault, on the other hand, the crucial demand of the scheme workers to be recognised as government workers is being continuously denied. But the scheme workers are emerging as a force to reckonwith in their fight against the injustice. Over the past several years, they have built up a vibrant militant movement in the face of aggressive crackdown by the state. The spirit of the movement of scheme workers for their legitimate rights is indomitable. The scheme workers of Bihar heroically struck work for 32 days in July – August this year. In the coming days, the scheme workers of the country will definitely play a significant role in overthrowing the anti-women, anti-worker Modi regime.”
Comrade Rajiv Dimri, the General Secretary of AICCTU said, “The first all India conference of the AISWF is being held in the backdrop of 32 days long glorious strike by the scheme workers of Bihar. The scheme workers of Bihar fought for increase in their honorarium in addition to their basic demands. The fight is far from over. The battle will intensify till the rights of scheme workers are recognised and also with a monthly payment of minimum 28,000 rupees per month. The scheme workers are fighting the most militant battle today for equality and dignity of labour. It is this fighting spirit of workers that will overthrow the present regime from power in 2024 elections. The present regime is not only infamous for its betrayal of workers but is also marked by its politics of communal hatred. The unity of workers as manifested in the recently concluded strike of the scheme workers of Bihar, will defeat the regime of communal hatred.”
Comrade Saroj Choubey, General Secretary of Bihar Rajya Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sangh, said, “The scheme workers fighting for their rights are well aware that the Modi government has passed four labour codes with the motive to eliminate all existing rights of the working class. Today’s anti worker regime wants to criminalise unionisation of workers. The scheme workers, while fighting for recognition of their own rights, are determined to strengthen the struggle of the working class of the country against the anti-worker labour codes.”
Comrade Geeta Mandal, General Secretary of Jharkhand Rajya Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sangh, said, “Allowance instead of wages for workers is a shameful invention of a government that systematically disrespects the women and their labour. No where in the world such a vast segment of workers are allowed to be exploited ruthlessly without any wages. We demand wages and not allowance, we demand an end to the government sanctioned scheme of exploitation of workers.”
The delegate session of the conference started in the afternoon of 9th September. Around 500 delegates from different parts of the country deliberated on the report of the conference presented by Comrade Shashi Yadav.
The conference passed the following resolutions-
- The conference demands that scheme workers must be recognised as government employees and be paid accompanied wages and benefits on par with government employees. The AISWF resolves to organise a comprehensive campaign from October to November, 2023 on the said demands.
- Around one crore scheme workers of the country, who play a most crucial role in delivering basic services of the government like primary health, school education, women and child development are denied the rights of minimum wages and social security.
- AISWF will organisae mammoth rally of scheme workers at an appropriate time in Delhi to bring the issues of scheme workers' struggle to the forefront of the politics of the country.
- The Federation will expand its work among ASHA, Anganwadi, Mid Day Meal Cooks, Mamta and other scheme workers to further strengthen the organisation.
- The Federation will initiate the process of consultation with other unions to organise an all India strike of scheme workers.
- The Federation resolves to play a pivotal role in overthrowing the anti-worker, anti-women Modi regime in the next Lok Sabha elections.
- The conference expresses acute concern over the increasing assaults on the autonomy, rights and freedom of women in the country. We demand effective anti sexual harassment cells to be set up at workplaces.
- The conference salutes the brave struggle of the women wrestlers against sexual harassment and condemns the BJP government’s attempt to shield the accused. We demand justice to each victim of sexual assault in the ongoing violence in Manipur.
- The conference endorses the call of Mahapadav in every state capital from 26th to 28th November as declared by Samyukta Kisan Morcha and Joint Platform of all Central Trade Unions.
- The conference extends support to the ongoing struggles of ASHA workers in UP and Haryana.
The conference elected an executive council of 45 members and an office bearer team of 13 members. Comrade Shashi Yadav was elected as all India General Secretary of AISWF while Comrade Geeta Mandal was elected as the President and Comrade Saroj Choubey as the Honorary President.