NATIONAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE for Unorganized Sector Workers
Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer
Baba Adhav
Working President
S. Bhatnagar
R. Venkataramani
Sr. Advocate- Supreme Court
Geetha R.
South Regional
Correspondence Address:
B-19, Subhavna Niketan
Pitampura, Delhi-110034
Phones:91-11-27013523, 27022243
www. Mobile: 9810810365

Workers of Unorganised Sector Act Now
to expose the Bogus Bill passed by the Rajya Sabha
in extreme hurry on 23rd October, 2008.
Act now to prevent the tabling of this Bogus Bill in the Lok Sabha.
Organise State Level Dharnas/Rally on Dec 10, 2008. National Dharna at Parliament, New Delhi from 10th December, 2008 to 12th December, 2008

Nov.9, 2008

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your support to the 21st October, 2008 Rally to the Parliament to submit the Memorandum to the Prime Minister, signed by over one lakh Unorganised Sector Workers from different parts of the country. On the occasion of this Rally four separate meetings were also organized, to discuss the issues of organizations working with Domestic Workers, Unorganised Sector Workers, Construction Workers and Independent Trade Unions of Unorganised Sector Workers.    
In this circular we focus on the Unorganised Sector Workers  because on 23rd October, 2008 the Rajya Sabha passed The Unorganised Sector Workers Social Security Bill 2007 with about 34 ‘cosmetic amendments’, moved by the Labour Minister Shri Oscar Fernandes and rejecting  all the amendments moved Shri Tapan K. Sen by the division 28:34 votes. i.e. against govt. Bill and amendments 28 vote and for govt. Bill and amendments 34 vote.  It  is shocking that only 62 members or 25% members of the Rajya Sabha were present when it  passed the bill which will directly affect the Social Security i.e. regulation of employment, children’s education, maternity benefits, health care, pension etc of over 40 crore Unorganised Sector Workers and their family members. The Bill was discussed during two sittings of two hours each, with diversions on the Railway Bill. The following eleven members of the Rajya Sabha spoke on the Bill: (1) Shri Rudra Narayan Pany of BJP from Orissa (2) Shri G. Sanjeeva Reddy of Indian National Congress from Andhra Pradesh (3) Shri K. Chandran Pillai of CPI-M from Kerala (4) Dr. K. Malaisamy of AIADMK from Tamil Nadu (5) Dr. Janardhan Waghmare of National Congress Party from Maharashtra (6) Prof. Arjun Kumar Sengupta (Chairman NCEUS) of West Bengal, (7) Shri Su. Thirunavukkarasar of BJP from Madhya Pradesh (8) Shri Tapan Kumar Sen of CPI-M from West Bengal (9) Shri R.C. Singh of CPI from West Bengal (10) Shri Bharatkumar Raut of Shiv Sena from Maharashtra and (11) Shri Abani Roy of RSP from West Bengal.  We will shortly circulate a summary of these interventions and the amendments presented by the Labour Minister and Shri Tapan Kumar Sen.

Text Box: Write to the Members of Lok Sabha representing your Constituency   NOT to the Bogus Bill being tabled in the Lok Sabha
It had been reported in the press at the end of August 2008 that the Cabinet had approved the Social Security Bill for Unorganised Sector Workers once again but the details of the Bill were not disclosed till it was passed by the Rajya Sabha. Now it has become clear that no substantial change has been made in the Bill which was first placed before the Rajya Sabha on 10th September, 2007 and subsequently referred to the Standing Committee of Labour Ministry. It is shocking that all the substantial recommendations of the Standing Committee have been left out such as: “The Committee also call upon the Government that the concept of National Minimum Benefits should be made part of the Act............ILO Convention No.102 has laid down the minimum standards of social security comprising the following:- medical care, sickness benefit, Unemployment benefit, old age benefit, invalidity benefit and survivors’ benefit ......and State Government be allowed to add on the benefits,” ( Para-21 of the Report) “Act should statutorily provide for national minimum benefits creating a justifiable right in favour of all unorganized workers. The national minimum benefits should be extended to all the unorganized workers within a period of three years...........the Government may introduce national minimum in terms of benefits to be provided for, class of workers to be covered. Presently, the Committee has quantified and recommended benefits in matters relating to life and disability, health and maternity, and old age protection in the Bill itself. The quantum of benefits proposed is to be adjusted for inflation every two years by the Government of India. In addition, the Government of India may announce separate (which would not be part of national minimum) for welfare of workers.” (Para-22 of the Report).
Text Box: Write to the leaders of political parties representing your constituency   in the Lok Sabha and State Assembly   to take up the issue of a Comprehensive Central Legislation   to provide social security and regulation of employment   for 40 crore Unorganised Sector Workers and their Families

“Social security schemes cannot just work without any statutory backing and assured resource allocation
. It would not be proper to tailor  the schemes or reduce their number on the consideration of  funds .......... a proper, transparent and institutional mechanism devising clear and unambiguous methodology for generating resources be laid down paving the way for creation of a National Social Security and Welfare Fund  .............. earmarking of a definite percentage of GDP to levying of cess on various forms of taxes, grants and loans from the Union and State Governments, monthly collection of contribution from employers and beneficiaries on the lines of ESIC and EPFO (Para-30).
  1. “An appropriate body with sufficient number of officials be also constituted at the National and the State levels to execute the schemes framed for the Unorganized Workers. (Para-39)
  2. Separate Legislations for Agricultural Workers & Conditions of Services/ Regulation of Employment of Workers of the Unorganized Sector(Para-40)
  3. Any social security measure meant for the unorganized workers will be incomplete without regulation of their employment and the conditions of their services. Virtually, every group that appeared before the Committee or submitted memoranda containing their viewpoints emphasized the need for these steps as being the corner-stone for any meaningful welfare of the unorganized workers(Para-41).  The changes can be termed as ‘cosmetic’ because the only alterations are in nomenclature: from the Name of the Bill and various sections and sub-sections the word ‘sector’ has been deleted; from the Central and State Boards the word ‘Advisory’ has been deleted; instead of labour department and tripartite mechanism, the Workers Facilitation Centers Under District Administration are provided for performing various functions. Trade Unions have been deliberately kept out of the registration process – a move to completely wipe out Trade Unions from the Unorganised Sector. An APL/BPL divide has been created in the Unorganised Sector Workers to finish the workers’ Movement. The demand of registration of workers in the Welfare Board through Trade Union has been deliberately omitted to create bureaucratic control which in turn will mean corruption in the registration system and . Confining benefits only to the BPL workers is a denial of basic labour and human rights. Unorganised Sector Workers should not be viewed as indigent ‘beneficiaries’ of government largesse but acknowledged as productive workers who contribute 65% of the country’s GDP. Adequate financial provision must be made for their social security by allocating at least 3% of the GDP for it over and above the levy to be collected from various segments of the Unorganised Sector.
Text Box: Write to the Prime Minister to get the approval of the Cabinet on Amendment  in the Unorganised Sector Workers Social Security Bill 2007   in accordance with the NCC-USW proposals   before tabling it in the Lok Sabha.
When the team of Unorganised Workers Federation-Tamil Nadu met the Labour Minister Shri Oscar Fernandes on 21st October, 2008 in the late evening after the Rally and NCC-USW meeting, he told them that he would get the Government Bill passed by the Rajya Sabha next day and by the Lok Sabha next to next day. Therefore NCC-USW approached its chairman Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer and he immediately wrote to the Prime Minister “to give serious consideration to and fair approval of the amendatory recommendations of the NCC-USW.”
The letter of Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer to the Prime Minister dated 23rd October, 2008 is enclosed with this circular for your information. By the 23rd October, 2008 evening this letter was delivered to the leaders of all political parties in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and also to the Speaker, Lok Sabha Shri Som Nath Chatterjee. Surely it was the inner voice of Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer and millions of unorganised sector workers because of which Labour Minister Shri Oscar Fernandes could not introduce the Bill in the Lok Sabha.
Now we have got a short gap before the next session of the Parliament is called. During this period five States will go through State Elections which will also clear the path for General Elections in the Country.
During this period all the Coalitions of Unorganised Sector, NCC-USW, NCL, NTUI, Social Security Now, All Coalitions of Agriculture Workers and all the Central Trade Unions need to examine the results of their working separately. During this time all the political parties also need to examine their present stand on the Government Bill. All those who really want to support the cause of unorganised sector workers need to come together. We would like to repeat that illusionary Bills like the Government Bill of 2007 will not benefit a single unorganised sector worker and will not fetch a single vote for the ruling coalition. The left parties who have come out of the coalition must examine the stand taken by their Members in the Rajya Sabha. Only a really bold stand by the organizations of unorganised sector workers, supported by the important political parties who are willing to priorities the interests of the people above their partisan interests can open a new path for the country, away from the ills of liberalization, privatization and globalization.
Text Box: Workers of the Unorganised Sector Unite.   We constitute the majority of voters in each and every constituency of the Lok Sabha.   No one can win election without our votes.

We expect all concerned organizations to organize protests at State levels on Dec 10, 2008 which is celebrated as Human Rights Day and is an appropriate day to demand the human rights of Unorganised Sector Workers.

In Delhi we shall organize National dharnas from Dec 11 to 12, 2008.
Expecting cooperation from all segments,
Yours Sincerely
Subhash Bhatnagar   
Resolutions Adopted at The Construction Workers Meeting Called by NCC-CL on 22/10/2008 at Indian Social Institute, Lodi Road, New Delhi

  1. Resolve to institute an enquiry by safety experts into the accident at Metro- Construction site on Vikas Marg to investigate the failure of norms under 1996 Act and recommend remedial measures for immediate future.
  2. Resolve to organize a Rally on 11th November, 2008 at Jantar Mantar in which leaders of  all political parties will be invited to ensure full implementation of the 1996 Acts in Delhi within a fair time limit, it will include Chief Minister of Delhi Ms. Sheila Dixit and Labour Minister of Delhi Govt. NCT, Shri Mangat Ram Singhal and leaders of main political parties contesting Delhi election.
  3. Resolved to call an emergency meeting of the Delhi Board to investigate in the accident, recommend preventive measures, examine the need of compulsory registration on major sites for 2010 games, including the infrastructure.
  4. Resolve to collect information from all States on the present status of implementation of the 1996 Acts of Construction Workers and follow up the PIL of NCC-CL at Supreme Court of India.
  5. Resolved to investigate into the impact of the Central Cabinet decision to provide funds from Construction Workers Welfare Fund for the constructing of ‘holding areas’ for the temporary accommodation of migrant construction workers.
Resolved to explore the possibilities of using ESI Scheme for all the registered Construction Workers, with management share to be paid by the Board in line with similar extension of ESI scheme to unorganised sector.