10 major trade unions boycott pre-budget meeting with FM

The unions had threatened to boycott the meeting after the Finance Ministry allotted them the minutes each to put across their views before the Minister.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

NEW DELHI: Ten major trade unions of the country, including the AITUC, INTUC, CITU, HMS, LPF, SEWA and AIUTUC among others, on Monday boycotted their pre-budget consultations with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, citing lack of proper time given to them to put forth their demands before the Centre.

In a letter to Sitharaman on November 25, the unions had threatened to boycott the meeting after the Finance Ministry allotted them the minutes each to put across their views before the Minister.

They had termed the time slot of three minutes allotted for each union to forth their budget demands as a “cheap joke”.

The unions had also sought a physical meeting with the finance minister in order to discuss their various demands in detail.

The Ministry had arranged for a meeting via video conferencing.

An INTUC leader said the 10 unions boycotted the meeting and that the Finance Ministry had called them to assure they would be informed about a fresh time slot for a meeting with Sitharaman at a later date.

The 10 unions have also sought an increased budget allocation for MGNREGA and giving workers under the scheme’s ambit the status of government employees and paying them minimum wages.

They have also asked the Minister to increase taxes on corporates and introduce wealth tax.

Meanwhile, Sitharaman met Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and representatives of industry bodies like FICCI and CII, as well as the CEO of National Skill Development Council, to hold pre-budget consultations on Monday.

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