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India: Place no restrictions on movement of migrant workers - AITUC demands withdrawal of Home Ministry order of 3rd May 2020

6 May

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All India Trade Union Congress
AITUC Bhawan: 35-36, DDU Marg, Rouse Avenue, New Delhi – 110002
E Mail: aituchq[at] Tel: +91 1123217320

Press Release – 04.05.2020

AITUC demands withdrawal of latest order of Home Ministry terming it as discriminatory, anti-worker and anti-human

AITUC deplores the latest order from the Ministry of Home Affairs dated 3rd May stating that the government will facilitate the movement only of those stranded workers who had gone to work or from workplace to hometown just before lockdown but could not return to their native places/workplaces on account of restrictions placed on movement of persons and vehicles as part of lockdown measures.

This MHA order once again reflects that the Government is totally out of tune from the ground realities, a confused lot, never doing its homework before shooting any orders but is also embedded with insensitive, inhumane approach towards workers’ families who represent majority population of the country. The workers plan for visiting families not frequently but after several months of work at a particular place. They come for seasonal work also and also when they do not get any work in villages in between the timings of sowing and harvesting. They come to towns and cities not only to work in the factories but also to work in shops, for rickshaw pulling, E- rickshaw/ auto rickshaw/tax driving, hawking, vending, work on construction projects, security services, domestic work, loading-unloading or any other odd jobs including everyday casual work for their living whatever comes their way to sustain themselves and their families behind. Even those workers who come with their spouse leave half the family behind in the villages. In this time of trauma when all work was closed for them and they want to be with their families in the native places, how can the government stop them for their right to be with their family members. This step of government reflects of some camouflaging of forcing the workers to stay back on the behest of employers’ demands. It is in a way to keep them in bondage like situations.

Moreover no one would be interested in un-necessary travel as there are fears of getting infected from Covid-19 virus.

AITUC demands for immediate withdrawal of this order. AITUC also demands that travel charges for trains and buses should not be demanded from the workers as they have already exhausted their cash in hand. There are reports, how they have taken loans to pay heavily to the bus transport operators in various states. In this deep crises situation Government should at least do this much to help them in their distress of eager to be with the families.

Amarjeet Kaur
General Secretary, AITUC