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Bhopal: Medical Representatives claim changes in labour laws favour pharma giants, strike tomorrow

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Freepressjournal
18th January, 2022 01:07 IST

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The pharmaceutical and sales representatives under Madhya Pradesh Medical and Sales Representative union (MPMSRU) are going on strike on Wednesday as their counterparts across the nation, to protest government’s labour policies.

The drug sellers have decided not to hold a mass gathering in view of covid-19, but will gather at Dawa Bazaar at 10 am in small groups in protest and will strike work, general secretary of the union Shailendra Sharma told Free Press on Monday.

The pharmaceutical representatives, both organised and unorganised, are protesting against the changes made in 44 labour laws under Ease of Doing Business that have bent the law in favour of the pro-corporate-capitalist policies, said the union.

Sharma said, “Government is passing bills harmful for the workers and simultaneously has imposed restrictions on protest rallies so that nobody may question them.”

“The sharks have now begun to obstruct the daily routine of pharma-reps and have been putting extra workloads. Permanent jobs have turned into employment under the personal policy of Hire and Fire because of the Fixed Term Employment Act, causing job-loss to several. The companies harass drug representatives, arbitrarily changing the service conditions and working practises of the pharmaceutical representatives,” he added.

The government has opened the pharmaceutical industry 100 per cent for foreign investment. Our self-reliance in the pharmaceutical industry is being destroyed as they are selling the public sector pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing units for a song. Our own people cannot afford even the average health services,” he added.

Demands:

1. Reduced cost and GST-free medicines. No privatisation of health sector and ensure spending of 5% of GDP in it.

2. Ban on online sale of medicines.

3. 6 months maternity leave for women drug and sales reps. Restore the SPE Act 1976.

4. Minimum wage of Rs 26,000 pm for reps.

5. 8-hour work duration a day.

6. Statutory work manuals for reps.

7. Medical and accident insurance for reps and their families.

8. Increased daily and travel allowances in view of hiked fuel price.

9. Ban on e-monitoring.

“Government released the changed draft unilaterally”

“The Industrial Tripartite committee was formed in 2013 after prolonged struggle of pharmaceutical representatives. The newly elected central government that came in 2014 dissolved it. It was somehow reinstated in 2015, but even after finalising the draft of the Statutory Work Manual for Drugs and Sales Representatives in the Tripartite Committee meeting of 2018, the Central Government released the changed draft unilaterally favouring the employers, ” said Shailendra Sharma, GS MPMSRU.

Also Read: Bhopal: MESC signs MoU with Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University

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