People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 03, 2007
CITU Rejects Proposed Legislation For Unorganised Workers
The CITU secretariat issued the following statement on May 24, 2007
THE union cabinet decision giving its approval to a so-called social security for the Unorganised Sector Workers has come as a rude shock to the 93 per cent of the workforce in the country. It is a breach of the commitment given in the National Common Minimum Programme as well as a mockery of the tripartite consultation process.
The NCMP had assured a comprehensive protective legislation for all agricultural workers and ensuring the welfare and well being of all workers, particularly those in the unorganised sector who constitute 93 per cent of our workforce. While the first one in case of agricultural workers has totally been sidelined, the proposed legislation in respect of the unorganised workers has nothing concrete except setting up of a National Advisory Board and enabling the central government to notify welfare schemes ‘from time to time’, purely at its discretion. The cabinet decision has virtually negated a series of ongoing exercises, including the draft bills circulated by the ministry of labour, and the National Commission on Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector, conclusions arrived at successive sessions of the Indian Labour Conference, the unanimous suggestions placed by the central trade unions et al. The trade union movement has unanimously pressed for two separate but comprehensive legislations for 1) agricultural workers and 2) unorganised sector workers, covering both the aspects of conditions of work as well as social security. The union cabinet has gone about the issue in a cavalier fashion by just putting in an enabling provision for bringing in schemes, instead of concrete provisions ensuring regulation of employment and duly funded pre-defined schemes, with a universal coverage.
The proposed legislation is nothing but an attempt to hoodwink the huge workforce in the country. There is no concrete proposal on how the government proposes to fund the social security nor is there any timeframe for covering the entire workforce. The proposed bill is nothing but an expression of intent, as it fails to bring in these workers under coverage of labour laws and does not incorporate a dedicated and defined funding arrangement.
The CITU rejects the vague and skeletal legislation proposed in the cabinet decision and demands convening of an urgent meeting of the central trade unions to deliberate the whole gamut of issues involved for bringing up a meaningful legislation.