AIUTUC writes to the PM on steps to take to fight COVID-19 Pandemic

Comrades  Sankar Saha and Shankar Dasgupta, respectively President and General Secretary of  All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) submitted a memorandum to Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, on urgent steps to take  during this lockdown period. Written  on 15 April 2020,  the memorandum pointed out that the PM’s address  to the nation on 14 April 2020 announced extension of lockdown till 3 May 2020, while reality, that the AIUTUC also visualized, is that mere lockdown will carry no substance in the fight against COVID-19 virus without extensive testing to identify infected persons, their proper treatment and strict implementation of government directions and advisories.  The AIUTUC noted with serious concern that despite there being a note of caution  from WHO, the Union Health Ministry declared on 13 March 2020 to the Press that “Coronavirus is not a health emergency”. It revealed insincerity and insensitivity  of the Government in the fight against this pandemic. Nevertheless, the Union Government now needs to act on the ground in close coordination  with state governments, political and trade union organizations and other agencies. The tasks among others,  involve surveillance, screening and mass testing, proper  treatment, supply of test kits, erecting sufficient test centres, all to be done on emergency basis. Medical- para-medical persons, all categories of associated  health workers – cleaning staff need be provided with standard quality personal protective gears. Hospital beds, ICUs, ventilators etc., medicines including prophylactic ones as per ICMR guideline  are to be ensured in increased adequate numbers. Food and financial relief  are to be provided to all needy, more so the daily wage earners, agricultural labourers,  migrant workers, all categories of domestic and self-employed workers without suppressing the real grave picture of these sections of  working people who bear the brunt of the economy. To be ensured also, are protections of jobs, earnings and social security benefits in both public and private sectors. Labour laws on working hours and conditions should not be changed against workers’ interests, on the plea of ‘exceptional circumstances’. In summation, in face of the emergent grave humanitarian crisis, it is expected that the government act on war footing.

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