ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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SOUTH ASIA-Exporting Freedom Fighters

economic policies are basically intended to ensure unfettered accumulation of capital for the bourgeoisie. Providing greater freedom to capital is one aspect of these changes. The other is to create the institutional basis for uninterrupted exploitation of the working class by curbing the workers' democratic rights. The Essential Services Maintenance Act, first introduced in 1981 and extended for another five years in 1985, denies the right to strike in services such as railways, post and telegraph, essential public utilities, etc. The government and the bourgeoisie whose interests it represents have now attempted io suppress militant trade unions in other sectors of the economy by introducing legislation that seeks to curb the right to strike, the right to collective bargaining, etc Two retrograde pieces of labour legislation, one the Trade Unions and Industrial Disputes (Amendment) Bill and the other the Hospitals and Other Institutions (Redressal of Grievances of Employees) Bill were introduced (the latter bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha) in the recently concluded session of parliament. The Hospitals Bill seeks to nullify the Supreme Court judgment of 1978 in the Bangalore water supply case which declared that employees of hospitals, educational institutions and scientific organisations, etc, come under the purview of Industrial Disputes Act. In the wake of the countrywide strike of university and college teachers and the agitations of junior doctors in a number of states, the government wants to virtually ban the right to strike, the right to collective bargaining and indeed the right to appeal to the courts.

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