for Unorganized Sector Workers

Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer
Baba Adhav
Working President
S. Bhatnagar
Correspondence Address:
B-19, Subhavna Niketan
Pitampura, Delhi-110034
Phones: 91-11-27013523, 27022243
Mobile: 9810810365
E-mail: ncccl@vsnl.net
R. Venkataramani
Sr. Advocate- Supreme Court
Geetha R.
South Regional


Dated: 31st October, 2005.

Dear Friends,

This circular is further to our circular dated 4th August 2005 giving you information about the draft of the National Advisory Council (NAC) on the Unorganised Sector Workers Social Security Bill 2005. The state meetings of unorganised sector worker in Karnataka, Tamilnadu, and Kerala and the Peoples Summit Against Poverty at Delhi.

This circular is to inform you that we are organizing a National Seminar on Comprehensive Legislation for Unorganised Sector Workers. The details are:

National Seminar on Comprehensive Legislation for
Unorganised Sector Workers

Date - 23rd November 2005

Place - Indian Social Institute
10 Lodi Institutional Areas, Delhi.

Time 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This National Seminar is aimed at reaching a consensus with the Central Trade Unions, SEWA and NCL and at involving different segments of unorganised sector workers in
the campaign. Reaching a consensus on the main aspects of the Comprehensive Bill for Unorganised Sector Workers has become important in view of the following developments;

Three Bills proposed by Government of machinery

Even before the date for sending comments on the Bill proposed by NAC (26th August 2005) ended the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEIS) circulated the following two Bills and invited comments:

1) Unorganised Sector Workers Social Security Bill, 2005

2) Unorganised Sector Workers (Livelihood Promotion and Condition of Services)
Bill, 2005

Soon after that a National Consultation on Social Security for Migrant Workers in the Informal Sector was organized on 25th and 26th August, 2005 by the Institute for Human Development and Grameen Vikas Trust which was sponsored by DFID and ILO.

On 3rd September 2005 the Central Trade Unions wrote a joint letter to the Labour Secretary Shri K.L.Sahani on these Bills.

On 23rd and 24th September, 2005 the National Centre for Labour organised another National Consultation on the Social Security Bills and the National Employment Guarantee Act and to finalise the NCL's Comprehensive Bill for Unorganised Labour in association with the Social Security Association of India, Centre for Labour Studies of the National Law School of India University and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) at New Delhi.

Shri T.S. Sankaran wrote his comments to Shri K. Jayashankar, acting chairperson of NCEUS on the two Bills circulated by the commission. The views of the NCC-USW are the same as conveyed by this letter.

A National Workshop on the National Common Minimum Programme of the UPA Government held on 4th and 5th October 2005 by NCL at Bangalore constituted an Expert
Committee to look into the recommendations and suggestions on the draft Bill prepared by NCEUS vis a vis the draft Comprehensive Bill prepared by the NCL.

The Expert Committee meeting was held at Delhi on 27th and 28th 0ctober 2005. The NCC-USW representative suggested that instead of our accepting the move of the NCEUS to have two separate Bills, one for social security alone and another for the conditions of work and measures of livelihood promotion let us remain firm on the position that there must be an integrated single law which will include not merely provisions for social security but also for the more important issues like regulation of employment, security of livelihood, conditions of work, protection of environment, guarantee of customary rights including access to common natural resources and so on, all to be provided through schemes in the drafting of which and implementation of which, the workers will have effective voice through tripartite Boards and their subordinate tripartite bodies at lower levels like district, tehsil, Panchayat samities, project areas and so on.

The joint letter of the Central Trade Unions on this aspect states that "the drafts put by the NCEUS on its website have in our opinion correctly bifurcated the twin aspects of Social Security and Conditions of work and livelihood of the Unorganised sector workers" which is different from the NCC-USW position. But most of the other suggestions given by NCC-USW are the same as given in this joint letter to the Secretary of the Union Labour Ministry.

SEWA had expressed its own view in a draft Bill prepared by them which was confined to 'Social Security' but we are quite hopeful that they will understand the importance of the regulation of employment suggested by us in the Comprehensive Bill.

There are conflicting reports in the Press regarding the willingness of the central and state governments to fund the social security of Unorganised sector workers. According to news reports, the total contribution to the proposed National Social Security Fund would be Rs. 32,850 crores and it is estimated that Rs. 17,548 crores will come from the centre and Rs.5010 from the states. According to Mr. Kannan of NCEUIS, "This amounts to only 0.8% of GDP in 2004-2005 and isn't too much for the centre to provide Minimum Social Security to those who earn 45%of national income".

Another Press report states that the Prime Minister favours a cess to build up a social security fund for Unorganised sector workers. Yet another article says the hidden reluctance of the Finance Ministry of the central government and also the state governments is the main cause of delay in enacting legislation for the unorganised sector.

After an All India Convention of Unorganised Sector Workers at Faridabad on 3rd and 4th October, 2005 by CITU, Peoples Democracy gave a call to build a united movement. However, a unilateral call was given for a rally to Parliament on 8th December, 2005 and to prepare for a countrywide general strike of unorganised sector worker during 2006, ignoring all other central trade unions with which it has been signing joint letters on the Unorganised Sector Workers Bill of 2003, 2004 and 2005 to the government.

Given the above background, we believe that a consensus among all will definitely serve the cause of Unorganised sector workers better than different initiatives. The next session of Parliament is before us and the delayed meeting of the Indian Labour Conference is also scheduled on 9-10 December, 2005.To reach a consensus on the main concepts of a comprehensive legislation, NCC-USW is organizing a National Seminar on 23rd November 2005 at the Indian Social Institute, Delhi. Before this meeting NCC-USW will organize meetings with SEWA representatives and central trade unions to ensure their participation in this seminar. NCL representatives were asked in the last two meetings itself to participate in the NCC-USW seminar to come to a consensus with as many organizations as possible.

You are requested to attend this National Seminar, both to consolidate and to enlarge the consensus on crucial aspects of the comprehensive social security legislation for the unorganised sector workers.


You're sincerely

Subhash Bhatnagar
Co-ordinator of NCCUSW