for Unorganized Sector Workers

Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer Chairman
Baba Adhav Working President
S. Bhatnaga Coordinator
R. Venkataramani Sr. Advocate- Supreme Court Convenor
Geetha R. South Regional Coordinator

Correspondence Address:
B-19, Subhavna Niketan Pitampura, Delhi-110034 Phones: 91-11-27013523, 27022243
Mobile: 9810810365

27th May, 2008

Invitation to NAPM Convention and Lucknow Meeting of Construction Workers

Dear Friends,
  • This circular is further to the 13th May, 2008 meeting of the NCC-USW held at Chennai under the Chairmanship of Shri T. S. Sankaran and to inform you abut the National Convention of NAPM on 7th and 8th June, 2008 at Khushi Nagar.
  • The Chennai meeting reviewed the various developments on the issue of a comprehensive central legislation for 400 million unorganized sector workers during the last three years.
  • The Chennai meeting was held on 13th May to mark the third anniversary of the submission by Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer of The Unorganised Sector Workers (Rights, Regulation of Employment, Condition of Workers, Social Security and Welfare) Bill 2005, proposed by NCC-USW, to the Prime Minister.
  • The Bill had been submitted after the 5th May, 2005 Rally of Unorganized Sector Workers to Parliament which presented a mass Petition signed by over one million workers of the unorganised sector to the Petitions Committee of the Lok Sabha through the Speaker Shri Somnath Chatterjee.
  • We are all well aware of the lacunae in the official Bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha by the Government of India in September 2007 which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour. Many representatives of Trade Unions, Independent and Central Trade Unions, and of NCC-USW, had deposed before the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee on Labour tabled its Report in December 2007, pointed out the many lacunae in the official Bill and presented its own Bill.
  • The Chennai meeting of NCC-USW discussed in detail the differences between the Report of the Standing Committee of the Labour Ministry, its recommendations and the Bill proposed by the Standing Committee. A note on “Correct Understanding of the Report of the Standing Committee of the Labour Ministry and Unorganised Workers Social Security Bill, 2007 presented by the Standing Committee on 3rd December, 2007 to the Parliament” is enclosed.
  • Before the Chennai meeting we contacted the Central Trade Unions about two meetings held by the Labour Ministry on 4th and 5th May, 2008 to discuss the Unorganised Sector Workers Bill. At least two of representatives of the Central Trade Unions told us that the Bill proposed by the Standing Committee of the Labour Ministry is better than the Bill presented by the Labour Ministry on 10th September, 2007 in Rajya Sabha. But the lacunae pointed out in the Report are not overcome in their Bill.
  • And this needs urgent attention from Trade Unions and proper understanding. The representations of the Central Trade Unions in Annexure III of the Report of the Standing Committee are totally different from the appreciation of the Standing Committee Bill by these representatives of the Central Trade Unions. The crucial suggestions of the Central Trade Unions have been incorporated in the Report but not in the Bill proposed by the Standing Committee. We need to understand why the Chairperson and Members of the Standing Committee and Labour Minister have left the differences between their Report and the Bill proposed by them.
  • The Chennai meeting decided to organise various mass awareness programmes before the monsoon session as well as demonstrations throughout the country on the opening day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, to register our protest against the failure of the Central Government to design an implementable legislation for forty crore Unorganised Sector Workers.
  • To consolidate the protest and awareness campaign, we appeal to you to form as many State Campaign Committees as possible. To organise State Level Campaigns we need to hold Seminars on essential components of a really implementable legislation for the social security and working conditions of the 40 crore Unorganised Sector Workers.
  • Only an appropriate understanding can lead to unity in the struggle for a comprehensive legislation for Unorganised Sector Workers.
  • The present day disunity is based on many misunderstandings. We must clear these clouds of misunderstanding and establish unity based on a grasp of the unique working conditions of the different segments of the Unorganised Sector Workers and the components essential for a really implementable legislation. NCC-USW constituents are participating in as many others campaigns as possible. Social Security Now organised two important meetings on 5th May, 2008 and 21st May, 2008 at Delhi.
  • All these efforts will together lead to the success of the long struggle of Unorganised Sector Workers. On 7th- 8th June, 2008 we will be participating in the National Convention of the National Alliance of Peoples Movement (NAPM) at Khushi Nagar, Gorakhpur to consolidate a common understanding with other constituents of NAPM.
  • The NCC-USW will also go ahead with its campaign programmes and initiate a debate with Members of Parliament and Political Parties before they start preparation of Manifestos for the next General Elections.
  • No single organization or no single coalition is capable of winning the real struggle for a comprehensive legislation for unorganized sector workers on its own, including the coalitions of Central Trade Unions. We are mentioning the coalitions of the central trade unions because by refusing to come together with other coalitions where non-government organizations are also there, the central trade unions are taking the path of continuing disunity.
  • At times the representatives of Central Trade Unions say that “we have a difference of opinion with the NGOs” but no one is willing to express what that difference is.
  • If we go by the memoranda received from various trade unions/employers groups / NGOs/ individuals in Annexure- IX of the Report of the Standing Committee of the Ministry of Labour which includes UTUC (LS), HMS, CITU, AIAWU, BMS, NAAWU, NTUI, UWF, Tailoring W.F.I., AIA Anganwadi WF (AITUC) , AIF of Anganwadi W&H., B Krisi & GMMS, ABKAMM, AIB & TMF, LPF etc. we do not see much difference of opinion in these memoranda.
  • It fact, particularly after the joint meeting of 19th Oct. 2006 with the Central Trade Unions, other unions and Federations of Agriculture Workers and movements working with Unorganized Sector Workers there was no reason left for continuing to take separate stands. After almost six years of hot debate, the Central Trade Unions (CTUs) have still not come out with a concrete proposal of what they consider as minimum essential provisions in a comprehensive legislation for social security.
  • During all these years they have brought out only short critiques of the government Bills or the Bills of NCEUS etc. The CTUs have neither agreed to support the NCC-USW proposal nor have they expressed a single reservation to anything proposed in our detailed Bill.
  • There is an urgent need to start debate with each and every Central Trade Union, its State Units and Affiliate Unions to settle this issue.
  • The silence of the CTUs on minimum essentials must not continue and the issue of social security must be settled before the term of the 14th Lok Sabha ends.
  • We expect your active participation in forming local, sectoral, town based, regional and state units of NCC-USW to initiate a debate with the MPs, CTUs and Political Parties on the minimum essential provisions in a comprehensive legislation for the social security and decent conditions of work for different segments of the unorganized sector of workers. It is only with your participation in the debate with local Members of Parliament in your State or Region, with the local affiliates of all Central Trade Unions, that we can reach a national consensus on a Comprehensive Bill and ensure its enactment by the Parliament and its implementation at state level. Expecting your sustained support in the long struggle ahead,

Yours Sincerely,
Subhash Bhatnagar

Supreme Court of India on Construction Labour Acts of 1996

1. On 13th May, 2008 a Bench of the Supreme Court of India made very important observations on the delay in the implementation of the Construction Workers Act of 1996 by the State Governments.

2. The National Campaign Committee of Construction Labour (NCC-CL) will organise a National Meeting on this subject for which a separate circular will be issued soon.

Lucknow Meeting of Construction Workers on 9th June, 2008
1. A meeting of the Trade Unions and Others Working for Construction Workers will be organized at Lucknow on 9th June, 2008 to form a Joint Committee to persuade the Uttar Pradesh Government to implement the 1996 Acts of Construction Workers in the state. Com. R. Geetha of Tamil Nadu will participate in this meeting.

Venue- Office of Shri Girish Pandey
Uttar Pradesh Electricity Workers Union,
Time- 11:00 am to 1:00 pm

Participants of the Chennai Meeting
AICCTU-Chennai, Allikulam Street Vendors Union- Chennai, Centre for Labour Education and Development- Chennai, Construction Union- Karnataka, Fisher People and Protection Committee-Chennai, Indian Chenji Raja Desingu Construction Unorganised, Agriculture Workers Union- Chennai, Jaihinth Union-Trichy, Latchiya Bharatha Workers Federation- Villupuram, Liberty Unorganised Workers Union- Chennai, Madurai Institutes of Social Sciences-Madurai, Pattali Thozhilar Sangam-Chennai, National Alliance People's Movement- Madurai, National Alliance People's Movement- Coimbatore, NCC - USW- Delhi, Nehru Construction and Unorganised Workers Peravai- Vellore, Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Sangam- Chennai, Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Sangam- Kovilpatti, Pennurimai Iyakkam- Chennai, Pottery Workers Welfare Board and other trade unions representatives- Chennai, Sarpam Irular Thozhilalar Sangam- Thiruvallur, T.N.D.W.M-Chennai, Tamil Thirunadu Unorganised - Construction Central Union- Chennai, Tamilaga Construction Agriculture Unorganised Workers Central Union-Chennai, Tamilnadu Domestic Workers Movement- Chennai, Tamilnadu Domestic Workers Union- Namakkal, Tamilnadu Forces- Chennai, Tamilnadu Manual Workers Union- Chennai, Tamilnadu Manual Workers Union- Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu Manual Workers Union- Sivagangai, Tamilnadu Manual Workers Union- Thiruvallur, Tamilnadu Manual Development Union-Chennai, Tamilnadu Thiyal Thozhilalar Valarchi Sangam- Chennai, Tamilnadu Vagirivel (Narikuravar) Thozhilalar Sangam-Villupuram, TRLMCTU-Madurai, TRLMCTU-Thanjavur, Ulaikkum Unorganised Construction Agriculture Sevai Sangam-Kanjipuram, Unorganised Workers Federation- Chennai, Vellore District-Vellore