MORE than fifteen thousand mid-day meal workers assembled at Parliament Street in New Delhi on November 19, 2018 at the call of mid-day meal workers’ federations affiliated to the central trade unions. Workers from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal shouted anti BJP-NDA-Modi slogans and demanded immediate increase in their remuneration.
The presidium of the meeting consisted of BV Vijayalakshmi (AITUC), Kanta Mahant (CITU) and Sohila Gupta (AICCTU). From the central trade Unions Amarjeet Kaur (AITUC), AR Sindhu (CITU), Geeta Mandal (AICCTU), M Chaurasia (AIUTUC), Ujjaini (INTUC) and Ashok Ghosh (UTUC) addressed the gathering. AR Sindhu said that the scheme workers are contributing labour worth rupees one lakh crore to the development of the nation and our fight is a struggle to get this accounted. She called upon the mid-day meal workers to make the national general strike on January 8-9, 2019 a grand success. D Raja, MP and Sai Balaji, JNUSU president also addressed the gathering.
Jaibhagawan, general secretary, MDMWFI (CITU) narrated the government’s efforts to privatise the scheme and the resistance against it. The central government is not even considering the promise made by the HRD Ministry in the 45th Indian Labour Conference to increase the remuneration to Rs.3000 per month. When the government increased the remuneration of anganwadi and ASHA workers they just ignored the 26 lakh mid day meal workers and discriminated against them, he said. He also narrated different struggles of the mid day meal workers in different states and the achievements of increased remuneration, uniform, and medical treatment in case of accidents etc.
The meeting was addressed by Vyas Prasad (Bihar), Ashok Thorat(Maharashtra), Jagatram(HP), Shanta(AP) from the MDMWFI(CITU).
A delegation consisting of BV Vijayalakshmi, Shyam Kale, Jaibhagawan, Kanta, Saroj Choube and Geeta Mandal along with D Raja, MP met finance minister Arun Jaitley and submitted a memorandum demanding an immediate wage increase. He said that the MDM workers belong to the most backward section of workers in the society and his ministry ‘missed’ the mid-day meal workers when they have increased the remuneration of other scheme workers and will consider an increase in their remuneration soon.
The meeting resolved to have nationwide campaign on the issues of MDM workers and submit memoranda to all the MPs on their demands and to participate en masse in the general strike on January 8-9, 2019.