New Delhi: A joint forum of 10 central trade unions has decided to boycott the virtual pre-Budget consultation with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on November 28, demanding a physical meeting with reasonable time to speak. Pre-Budget consultation is an annual exercise under which representatives of different sectors give suggestions and raise demands to be addressed through the Budget.
On November 25, the forum received a letter from the Finance Ministry stating that each participating central trade union will be allotted three minutes to make their suggestions. In response to the letter, the forum sent a letter on the same date and stated that the CTUs therefore have decided to boycott the proposed video conference.
"We are constrained to express our disappointment for calling this meeting on virtual mode despite the complete easing of Covid restrictions, and for (alloting the time of) 75 minutes only for consultation involving more than 12 central trade unions, may be more as indicated by the invitation letter. As per the Labour Ministry's physical verification, there are 12 central trade unions in our country. That means less than five minutes or even less for each organisation, if the time for customary opening remarks is taken into account," the forum stated.
The forum also urged the Finance Ministry "to seriously reconsider convening of a physical meeting with reasonable time-allotment for effective consultations in the pre-Budget meeting with trade unions." The forum also invited the Finance Minister for an open debate about these policies without any time restrictions on her to defend the policies followed by her.
The 10 trade unions which form the forum are INTUC, AITUC, TUCC, SEWA, HMS, CITU, AICCTU, LPF, AIUTUC and UTUC. There are about a dozen central trade unions in the country, including Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS). However, BMS is not part of the joint forum.
(With PTI inputs)