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Budget 2024/25: Union Demands Reforms in Labour Laws and Welfare Measures



Budget 2024/25: Union Demands Reforms in Labour Laws and Welfare Measures

The United Workers Federation (FTU) has put forward its proposals for the 2024/25 budget, aiming to address various issues affecting workers’ rights and welfare.

Among the key requests are regulations concerning the use of CCTV cameras in workplaces, oversight on private pensions, and the management of disciplinary committees by the Ministry of Labour.

Additionally, the FTU calls for an increase in the Carer’s Allowance for those on disability pensions and urges for price controls on essential food items.

Atma Shanto, a negotiator for the FTU, has emphasized the need for transparency regarding government spending to support the private sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shanto believes that some employers might exploit local or international issues to benefit from public funds, stressing the importance of accountability.

The FTU has raised concerns about discrimination faced by private sector workers during the pandemic.

While certain sectors were deemed essential during lockdowns, only public sector workers received compensation, leaving those in the private sector without support—an inequality that needs addressing.

Highlighting the importance of food security revealed during the pandemic, the FTU suggests repurposing unused land from sugar companies for food cultivation.

They propose government initiatives to facilitate employment through agriculture and livestock farming.

The federation also addresses the high prices of basic food items and vegetables, advocating for a reduction in VAT and a review of price-controlled products to alleviate the burden on vulnerable individuals.

To enhance quality of life, the FTU calls for an increase in the Carer’s Allowance, from Rs 3,500 to Rs 6,000, aligning it with the revised pension rates.

Regarding employment issues, the FTU criticizes the excessive use of CCTV cameras and calls for legislation to regulate their usage.

They also demand amendments to labour laws to safeguard workers’ lives during adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rains.

The FTU denounces human rights violations in the workplace and advocates for empowering the National Human Rights Commission to investigate private sector companies.

They propose granting all workers an hour off on December 10th, International Human Rights Day, to raise awareness of labour rights.

Furthermore, the FTU suggests revising laws regarding disciplinary committees, aiming to establish a Pool of Legal Advisors under the Ministry of Labour to handle disputes, rather than leaving the choice solely to employers.

Concerning private pension plans offered by companies, the FTU raises concerns about lack of employee representation in decision-making and proposes the formation of a National Tripartite Committee to address this issue.

To assist workers in asserting their rights, the FTU proposes establishing a Strike Fund in the Budget to support workers during strikes, addressing the current difficulty for private sector employees to organize effectively.

The FTU also criticizes the absence of tripartism in various public bodies, where decisions are made unilaterally without input from workers.

With elections looming, the FTU warns against abuses in recruitment by ministries and public bodies, calling for an end to such practices and the introduction of a code of conduct to prevent political nominees from exerting undue influence.

Finally, the FTU cautions against any secretive amendments to labour laws through the Finance Bill, citing past instances and labeling such actions as a conspiracy against workers orchestrated by business associations.

Source: Le Mauricien

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