This circular of NCC-USW is specially addressed to the delegates, community, partners, and staff members of Action Aid-India on the occasion of its National Conclave at Hyderabad. This circular is the outcome of the inspiration we got from the thought provoking key note address of Prof. Babu Mathew – Country Director of Action Aid, India. This is with the approval of the Chairman Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, as we could not have called the a meeting of the NCC-USW before circulating it.
We have been partners of Action Aid, India since last 7 years as ‘Nirmana’ which has been providing logistic support to the National Campaigns of construction Workers and Unorganized Sector Workers. Earlier we were not aware of the reach of Action Aid India to 24 States and Union Territories, to 300 partners, to 15000 villages, and to more than 1,50,00,000 citizens of our country, most of whom do not have “Full Citizenship” as described by Prof.Babu Mathew. We always wanted to reach all the communities associated with the partners of Action Aid India, because our understanding is that almost all of them are workers of the unorganized sector and almost none of them are getting social securities. Most probably even the majority of the staff of the ‘partners’ of Action Aid India are outside the purview of social security system beyond the project life. Thus both the community members and staff associated with the partners of Action Aid India constitute a significant number of the “Stake holders” of National Campaign of Unorganized Sector Workers for a Comprehensive Social Security Legislation. The legislation proposed by the NCC-USW is the only legislation which can ensure social security for all of them.
Therefore on important occasions we had written to the Regional Managers of the Action Aid India to either forward our Circular to the ‘partners’ associated with the Regional Offices or to send us a list of all partners with full addresses. But we never got a response and then we also became busy with the work-load of the occasion and could not followup the matter further. Now this National Conclave has given us an opportunity to directly communicate with the National wide partners of Action Aid India and the community members associated with them. Hence, this circular.
We need the support of Action Aid Partner to reach your comities in their own language, because we do not have the resources to circulate this in the Regional Languages of the communities with which you are associated. Therefore we request you to communicate the content of the NCC-USW circulars to your community members in their own language.
We further, your active support in overcoming another important ‘hindrance’. Even the partners working with the communities on different aspects of their livelihood may not released that their community members are unorganized sector workers and therefore the social security legislation for unorganized sector workers will directly influence the life of their communities with which you are working. Some of you may fail to understand that you must actively participate in the debates on the unorganized sector workers legislation and share it with the community, mobilize awareness campaign among the community members and translate the community support into a powerful voice to influence the government for passing an appropriate legislation.
It is not easy for project partners of Action Aid India to give up their project priorities and understand even few important aspects of an appropriate legislation, but it is not impossible. Perhaps a background note from the Country Director to Regional Managers / Project Partners on the importance of their participation along with the communities with which they are working and understand the on critical aspects of the comprehensive legislation to provide social security and regulation of employment of the unorganized sector workers will be of great help towards ensuring the participation of project partners and their communities in the campaign of unorganized sector workers. You can down load the entire background of the debate on the unorganized sector workers social security legislation from the website of Nirmana given above. You can also obtain copies of the important documents from the campaign office (address given above please note that the next phase is a very crucial phase and your participation in it can play a decisive role.
You all must have noticed from Press Reports on 25th May 07 that the Union Cabinet has approved the Bill on Social Security of Unorganised Sector Workers and it is likely to be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament. This has put aside all exercises of consultation on the contents of such an important Bill which is expected to effect the life of over 40 crore Unorganize Sector Workers. Shri Prem Shankar Jha’s article on Edit page of The Hindu (on 2nd May, 07) has rightly warned regarding this “The Scheme is dead and in 2009, the Congress Party will pay the price” The same will be the fate of other UPA partners/supporters.
Unless the Social Security really reaches a considerable section of the Unorganised Sector Workers before the next general election the Unorganised Sector Workers will not vote for UPA partners just because a Paper Bill is passed by the Parliament. For genuine relief, it is essential that there is a provision for Regulation of Employment, and that the Unorganized Sector Workers of all segments have a say in the implementation process and that at least 3 percent of the revenue of Central and State Governments is set apart for the social security of 39 crore Unorganised Workers every year till a target of 3 percent of the GDP is reached.
The Cabinet decision to push aside all democratic processes going on at different levels is a shocking issue for the entire labour movement in the country which is resisting the impact of globalization and privatization, both in the organized and Unorganised Sector. Now the agriculture workers and farmers are also jointly labour movement against Special Economic Zone (SEZ). We have learnt that it is the Union Finance Minister Shri P.Chidambaram and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Shri Montek Singh Ahluwalia who are forcing such un-democratic and unworkable decisions of the Union government.
On 31st May 2007, The NCEUS organized a meeting with Central Trade Unions and other Campaigns on its draft on “Condition of Work and Promotion of Livelihoods in the Unorganized Sector” and its two Bills on this subject. The representatives of Central Trade Unions and Campaigns express unanimously there displeasure with the way Union Cabinet has cleared the Social Security Legislation for Unorganized Sector Workers and asked the NCEUS also to convey this displeasure to the government.
After the presentation of NCEUS Report on the Livelihood Promotion in the Unorganized Sector Com. Varada Rajan of CITU submitted that the Central Trade Unions do not agree with the Social Security Bill alone. He submitted that the Central Trade Union want a separate Bills for the Agriculture Workers and Unorganised Sectors Workers and that both the Bill should have provisions for both the Social Security and regulation of employment. Shri N.P. Swamy representing National Center for Labour and Smt. Geetha .R representing National Campaign Committee for Unorganised Sector Workers both expressed their agreement with Com. Vardharajan. The NCEUS representatives agreed to convey this view of the workers representatives to the governments. In the end SEWA representative submitted its written submission to the NCEUS.
It has been decided with the concent of the Chairman Jusitce V.R. Krishna Iyer that the next meeting of National Campaign Committee for Unorganised Sector Workers will be held on 24th June, 07 at Chennai (Lawrence Sundaram Hall, Loyola College, Nungambakkam, Chennai) to discuss the recent developments on the Social Security Bill for Unorganised Sector Workers. Shri T.S. Sankaran will chair their meeting on behalf of Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer as Dr. Baba Adhav is help up in his prescheduled programmes in Maharashtra on these dates.
You are requested to reach Chennai by 23rd evening, to participate in the NCC-USW meeting. If you are not able to reach Chennai to participate to the NCC-USW meeting you are requested to convey your suggestion to us by E-mail/letter. The option proposed to us so far are either to organized a Centralized rally or other programme on the opining day or during the entire Monsoon Session Parliament at Delhi which is likely to start in 3rd week of July or to organized a decentralized protest programmes in State Capitals and other places simultaneously.
Please send us your full postal address with e-mail and phone number expressing you consent to participate in the campaign so that we include you in the mailing address of NCC-USW for regular communication.
Expecting your regular participation and your suggestions from the next phase National Campaign for Unorganized Sector Workers Programme.