In spite of completing 56 years after independence,
unorganised workers have been marginalised and
remained in unprotected state, livelihoods affected
due to Globalisation, cheated by Central and
State Govts. Hence the Unorganised Workers Federation
has decided to put forward demands relating
to right to life and livelihood before exercising
the voting right in the 14th Lok Sabha polls.
Though due to Globalisation, countless occupations,
industries and agriculture have got affected,
joblessness, starvation deaths, indebtedness,
suicides, crime, riots, all have increased,
false propaganda on ' India Shining ' is being
spread through media.
Since the country has got enslaved again due
to globalisation prime duty of the patriotic
unorganised workers is to save the country and
to struggle for rights of unorganised workers.
The objectives of Unorganised Workers Federation
(i) . To defeat the conspiracy justifying
the invasion of multinationals and dividing
people on communal and caste lines.
(ii) . To save the country and the local
industries - agriculture with socialist objectives
(iii) . To overcome the caste, religious
and party differences and forge working class
unity and urban - rural coordination of labourers.
1. Unorganised Workers Unprotected
and Marginalized :
Though 56 years have lapsed after independence,
unorganized workers in construction, agriculture,
fish-vending, handlooms, beedi, tailoring, domestic,
jewel, dhobi, forest, handicrafts, pottery,
salt, tea, load, safai, rickshaw, transport,
traditional drum, quarry, brick kiln, workers
continue to face unsolved problems such as
Unprotected and irregular employment
Lack of Medical facilities
No child care
Indebtedness during non employment periods
such as monsoon, sickness child birth and old
Uncontrolled exploitation with no work
Women labourers facing very often discrimination
and atrocities at workplace, society and home.
Child labour due to lack of child care
Increase in bonded labour in rice mills,
quarries, brick kilns, agriculture and big constructions.
No protection due to existing labour
Lack of allocation of funds in State
budgets and Five year plans for social security
of unorganized workers, even though the 63%
of GDP is created by 93% of workers numbering
37 crores in India and 2.6 crores in the State
a) Welfare Boards in Tamilnadu
Construction workers have struggled from 1979
to realise an enactment TN Manual Workers Act
in 1982 and after long drawn struggle TN Construction
Workers Welfare Board was formed in 1995; initially
the Welfare Boards were formed in Chennai, Madurai
and Coimbatore and due to continued struggle
extended to the entire state in 1976. The scheme
started with accident relief, and later included
assistance for death, maternity, education,
In 1999, a Welfare Board was formed for 54 categories
of Manual Workers. In 2000, separate Welfare
Boards were formed for workers in agriculture,
handicrafts, tree climbing, dhobi, hairdressing,
leather, tailoring, handlooms, auto, arts and
other 57 segments of unorganized workers. The
benefits accruing to construction workers were
extended to all the unorganized workers.
However, since the budgetary allotments
for unorganized workers in the years 2002 -
2003 were less many of the unorganized workers
did not get benefits. Even staff were not appointed
for the Welfare Boards.
The main object of TN Manual Workers
Act 1982 namely regulation of employment and
employment conditions was not implemented.
The assurance given by Tamilnadu Labour
Minister on the floor of TN Legislative Assembly
on 16.8.01 that the registered construction
workers would get pension of Rs.200 pm, has
not been fulfilled and no GO has been issued.
Many of the construction workers who have crossed
60 years are dying. No assistance is being provided
for natural death beyond 60 years. Even though
the Welfare Board has over 70 crores from levy,
the pension has not been given and thus the
workers feel cheated.
It must be noted that in Kerala a registered
worker after 1 year of registration, on reaching
60 years, gets pension.
Under the Central Acts on construction
workers, welfare scheme has been notified with
one percent levy, in Kerala, Pondicherry, Delhi,
Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat. But in Tamilnadu no
levy is collected from Central Govt, constructions.
And only, 3% is collected as levy.
Ignoring the demands of the unions, the
ten separate Welfare Boards have got amalgamated
with no proper levy collection.
In 2000, seven lakhs agricultural workers
were registered in the TN Agricultural Workers
Welfare Board and the collection was Rs.7 crores.
But the Agricultural Workers Welfare Board became
non functional and defunct with no registration,
renewal or benefits. The Kolappan report recommending
various measures for uplifting agricultural
workers, has been put in cold storage.
a) Disappearing Bill - Evasive Social
The Second National Commission on Labour
had recommended that Govt of India must enact
a law for unorganized workers to provide for
employment guarantee, wage security, non employment
allowance, medical assistance and pensions.
In 2002 and 2003, the Central Govt had circulated
3 draft Bills for discussions, various unions
of unorganized workers had put forward suggestions
and amendments. The National Campaign Committee
for Unorganised Sector Workers was formed in
Feb 2003 and seminars in Madurai, Chennai and
Delhi, National representatives meeting in Cochin,
District wise m