The 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) strongly condemns the BJP-led government’s latest attack on the working class in the form of extending Fixed Term Employment to all sectors through a notification amending the Industrial Employment (Standing Order) Rules. This move is an integral part of the neoliberal agenda of labour law “reforms” that are meant to impose conditions of virtual slavery on the working class. The BJP government has already amended the Apprenticeship Act and is in the process of amending the Factories Act, Contract Labour Act, and merging 44 labour laws into four Labour Codes to deprive workers of the little protection they provide. This in essence provides employers with the freedom to hire and fire workers. It is one of the measures intended to facilitate movement up the ladder of the “ease of doing business index” of the World Bank by depriving workers of job security and pre-empting their united struggles to improve their conditions by getting organised.

It is to be recalled that it was the erstwhile BJP government that first issued a notification introducing Fixed Term Employment in 2003. As a result of strong opposition and resistance from the joint trade union movement, this notification had to be rescinded by the UPA government. After assuming office in 2014, the BJP government, as a part of its measures to fast-track the neoliberal agenda, notified Fixed Term Employment, first in the textile and garment sector, extending it to the “made up” sector and now to all sectors.

The 22nd Congress of the CPI(M) rejects the ludicrous claims of the BJP government that this will generate employment, particularly for women, and is a “transformative” measure leading to “women’s empowerment.” Fixed Term Employment will only increase the vulnerability of workers. World experience has proved that Fixed Term Contracts, particularly for young workers, are not stepping stones but stumbling blocks on their path to the future.

The 22nd Congress of the CPI(M) congratulates the working class for its united opposition to Fixed Term Employment, demonstrated through the joint trade union State-wide strike in Kerala and huge demonstrations across the country.

The CPI (M) reiterates that real vikas, that is, true development for the people, cannot be achieved through measures such as this, which widen inequalities and enrich a few big business houses and corporates at the cost of the workers who produce the wealth of this country.

This Congress of the CPI(M) demands that the BJP government at the Centre immediately withdraw the notification on Fixed Term Employment and ensure the effective implementation of the labour laws that protect the rights of workers and provide them some benefits.