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

Web Site:

R. Venkataramani
Sr. Advocate- Supreme Court
Geetha R.
South Regional

Petitions Committee Report submitted to Lok Sabha

11th September, 2006

Dear Friends,

Here is some good news. The much awaited report of the Petitions Committee of the Lok Sabha, in response to the NCCUSW’s Petition signed by over one million unorganised sector workers and submitted on 5th May, 2005, is finally out.

The Nineteenth Report of the Petitions Committee of the Fourteenth Lok Sabha was considered and adopted by Parliament on 22nd Aug, 2006.

The Report recommends early, time-bound enactment of a comprehensive law for  Unorganised Sector Workers.

The Petitions Committee refers to three communications received from the Ministry of Labour and Employment on 24th May, 2005, 30th Aug, 2005 and 4th Jan, 2006. After considering the specific proposals of the NCC-USW and the responses of the Ministry of Labour and Employment regarding the drafts of NAC, NCEUS and the recommendations of the Fortieth Session of the Indian Labour Conference, the Petitions Committee has expressed its deep anguish at the inordinate delay in arriving at a consensus amongst the stake holders and the failure on the part of the Ministry of Labour to perform their functions as facilitators in the matter.

The Petitions Committee has recommended that the enactment of a Comprehensive Legislation covering the entire social security aspects and the service conditions of the unorganised sector workers should be expedited to avoid further hardship to the innumerable though faceless producers of wealth for the country. The Committee also desires the Ministry of Labour to chalk out a time frame for completing the consultation process with all concerned.

After such a clear support to the cause of unorganised sector workers by the Petitions Committee of the Lok Sabha, we are sure that none of the leaders of unorganised sector workers will support the proposal of the NCEUS for social security alone minus legislation on conditions of work and sector-wise provision for regulation of employment.

Meanwhile, we would like to report that a National Workshop on Unorganised Sector Women  Workers was held on 3rd & 4th August 2006 at Delhi with the support of the National Commission for  Women. This was followed by an NCC-USW meeting on 5th August 2006 in Coordination with the Socialist Front.

The National Workshop on Unorganised Sector Women Workers was very successful. Over 240 participants from 84 organisations representing 15 States participated. They discussed the issues of social security with particular reference to women workers and compared the proposals of the NAC and NCEUS with the comprehensive proposal of NCC-USW for social security and regulation of employment.

Besides plenary sessions, the workshop participants were divided into six sub groups for  group discussions on the following:-

  • Social Security.
  • Employment, Wages and Condition of Service.
  • Implementation Mechanism in the Unorganised Sector.
  • Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace, with special reference to Domestic Workers.
  • Rescue Rights for Women Workers.
  • Safety and Occupational Health.


The groups came out with detailed recommendations. Our constituents can see these details on our website, along with the Summary Report and detailed Report, or obtain copies on writing to us.
Among those who addressed the Workshop were Ms Manju S. Hembrom and Ms Malini Bhattacharya, members of the NCW, Dr Mohini Giri, Chairperson of the Guild of Service and former Chair of the NCW, and representatives of several women’s groups including Ms. Kirti Singh of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), Ms. Jyotsna Chatterjee of the Joint Women’s Programme and Ms. Vinay Bhardwaj of the Mahila Dakshata Samiti.

Shri Ravi Srivastava, member of NCEUS, gave a presentation on the Bill proposed by the NCEUS. Ms. Shalini Trivedi put forward the viewpoint of SEWA as Renana Jhabwala could not participate. The list of participants is enclosed. If the name of any participant/organisation is left out or spelled wrongly, the participating organisation is requested to send us a correction.

Representatives  of major Trade Unions  who spoke to the gathering  included Ms Amarjeet Kaur and Mr. S. N. Thakur of the  All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Ms Shalini Trivedi (SEWA), Ms. Anuradha Talwar (Paschim Bengal Khet Mazdoor Samiti), Mr. Nathuram (Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh), Ms. Pratibha Shinde (Lok Sangharsh Morcha), Mr. Thankappan (NTUI), Mr. R. A. Mittal of the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Mr. P.K. Sahi  of the AIFTU, Dr. Baba Adhav, Working President of NCC-USW and President of  Hamal Panchayat, MS. R. Geetha of the Unorganised Workers’ Federation, Tamil Nadu, and Mr. Jeevanand (National Center For Labour).

The Government of India was urged to bring before Parliament a Comprehensive Legislation for the Unorganised Sector and suitably amend the inadequate Bill proposed by NCEUS at the earliest.

NCC-USW meeting

At the NCC-CL meeting on 5th August 2006 Ms. Poornima Chikarmane suggested the possibility of reviewing the demand of NCC-USW for a Comprehensive Legislation in the light of the NCEUS proposal which is confined social security alone. Shri Subhash Bhatnagar explained to her that the NCC-USW Petition to Lok Sabha signed by over one million workers of the unorganised sector was submitted to the Speaker on 5th July 2005 and is pending before the Petitions Committee of Lok Sabha for consideration. The Petitions Committee has already received comments from concerned ministries and the Petition is likely to be considered in its next meeting. The Petition is a summary of the legislation proposed by NCC-USW after a one-year long process of discussion at different national and regional meetings where suggestions from grassroots workers were incorporated. At this late stage the Petition and the draft legislation cannot be open for changes just because a government commission has given an alternate proposal.

It is well known that NCC-USW has repeatedly rejected the proposal for a bill confined to social security without provision for the regulation of employment, including similar suggestions that came earlier from the Self Employed Women’s Association and the National Advisory Council. If there is a proposal for a change of stand, then it should first be circulated for comments to the constituents of NCC-USW. If it receives further support, a meeting of NCC-USW can be called specifically to consider the proposed changes. No organisation can keep on changing its proposals after a mass opinion building exercise for over one year has already been done, during previous meeting.

It was decided to organise a token Dharna on 2nd October 2006 at Raj Ghat to demand that the government take concrete steps on social security for unorganised sector workers. The meeting decides to organise a regular series of programmes on the issues of unorganised sector workers. The participants assured the following State level, decentralized Programmes:-




Individual Person

A torch light Rally

14th Aug, 06


Baba Adhav

A State Wide Programme and Rally

1st Sep, 06

Tamil Nadu

R. Geetha

State wide Campaign

20th Oct, 06 to
30 Oct, 06


Jai Singh

Rally of USW

November End

Jharkhand / RanchiRally

Arup Chatterjee

Programme to be planned later

December End


Vilas Bhongade

Other State constituents of the campaign are requested to confirm their programme at their earliest. At the National level Dharna will be organised at Raj Ghat on 2nd Oct, 2006, all the prominent participants of the 5th May 2005 rally, such as Sarv Shri V. P. Singh, Surendra Mohan, Aruna Roy, Medha Patkar, Tom Kochery, etc. will be invited to participate to seek a response to the demand of unorganised sector workers from the Central Government.


On the evening of 11th Sep, 2006 a short notice meeting of the NCC-USW was organised at the office of the HMS for discussing the preparation of 2nd Oct, 2006 as Baba Adhav was to come to Delhi for a meeting at NCEUS. Ms. Renana Jhabwala and Misai Chatterjee of SEWA also attended this meeting besides Shri R.A. Mittal- HMS, Subhash Lomte-NCC-RW, Amzad Hassan-DAMU, Poornima Chikarmane, Afaque-Sanjha Manch, Dinesh Singh and Nirmal Pande of SASC.

At this meeting the issue of NCC-USW’s stand on social security bill alone on the lines of NCEUS proposal vs. comprehensive bill for social security and regulation of employment proposed by NCC-USW was raised once again by SEWA representatives in view of these joining the 2nd Oct, 2006 dharna at Rajghat. It was clarified that if SEWA want to confine itself to the demand of social security alone and is willing to participate in the Dharna without asking NCC-USW to give up its demand for simultaneous provisions of the regulation of the employment and NCC-USW will not insist that SEWA should also demand for regulation of employment then we can join hands in the 2nd Oct, 2006 dharna at Rajghat.

Appeal to Central Trade Unions and Political Parties in Parliament.

 Now that the Petitions Committee of Lok Sabha has given its report recommending “Comprehensive Legislation” as proposed by NCC-USW it is important to seek a clear view of the Central Trade Unions. It is more important because Arjun Sengupta, Member of Rajya Sabha and Chairman of NCEUS is actively working as a Campaigner, creating an impression that his proposal is preferred even by Central Trade Unions. At the same time NCEUS has also assured that very soon they will submit a report on the conditions of work in the Unorganised Sector along with a revised proposal of the Unorganised Sector Workers (Conditions of work & livelihood Promotion) Bill, 2005 circulated last year, so the time has come when the Central Trade Unions must clarify whether they stand for a social security bill alone as proposed by the NCEUS or they stand for a comprehensive legislation on social security and regulation of employment and seperate legislation for agriculture workers. This clarification of Central Trade Unions is very crucial because the lobby supporting the NCEUS bill also creating an impression that the division of opinions among various organisations representing the interest of on Unorganised Sector Workers will leade to NO legislation for Unorganised Sector Workers and that shri Arjun Sengupta  as Rajya Sabha Member from West , first we should accept the proposal of NCEUS which can be amended later to include conditions of worker etc.  

How far we amend a legislation?

We know very will that the amendments cannot change the basic structure of legislation. In the past of the Unorganised Sector Workers were ever looked by extending the labour legislations designed for the organised sector to cover the Unorganised Sector Workers without creating provisions for the different working conditions of the Unorganised Sector Workers. This difference of the working conditions of the two sector and the provisions needed to deal with difference was highlighted during the campaign of construction workers which proposed the first legislation based on the understanding of this difference of the working condition in the two sectors. This clarification of the organised sector and Unorganised Sector definitely had a background role in the recommendations of the 2nd National Commission of labour for Unorganised Sector which provides of tripartite Board system in the structure of law. NCC-CL or any of its representatives have never claimed the credit for this idea because they take it as the development of the joint wisdom of all the participants to, including all the Central Trade Unions. We appeal to the present leadership of Central Trade Unions to continue with the tradition of joint efforts in the field of Unorganised Sector Workers established by the vetran trade unionist during the construction workers campaign. We once again request the present leaderships of CTUs to reconsider its present non-participation in the NCC-USW campaign and renew the unity of the construction workers campaign period. Do not allow the ego of any one person or group destroy the cause of 37 crore Unorganised Sector Workers. NCC-USW has been regularly informing the Central Trade unions of all its open meetings and taking decision only in such open meetings where all are the central trade unions are invited not only through circulars but also personally over and quite often. I as coordinator has been meeting the central trade union leaders personally in their offices. Besides me as coordinator of NCC-CL, the working president of NCC-USW, Baba Adhav and Shri Surendra Mohan have met the representatives of various central trade unions in this regard still some of them have not started participating in the NCC-USW meetings. We request them not to keep their reservations, if any, to themselves but express in openly in the interest of working people.


With thanks

Yours sincerely

Subhash Bhatnagar