Date: 8th July, 2006
Invitation to a meeting of
NCC-USW with Central Trade Unions
on Wednesday 12th July 2006
9.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
at Silver Oak Hall, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi
As you are aware, the National Commission for Enterprises for Unorganized Sector (NCEUS) headed by Prof. Arjun Sen Gupta, Member of the Rajya Sabha, submitted its report on Social Security for Unorganized Sector Workers (USW) to the Prime Minister on 17th May, 2006. Subsequently, meetings are being organized in different parts of the country to mobilize appreciation and support for the proposed scheme. There is some likelihood that the Bill on social security for USW may be introduced in the monsoon session of the Parliament.
On 5th May, 2005 over twenty thousand workers of the unorganised sector marched to the Parliament and gave a petition to the Petitions Committee of the Lok Sabha, through the Speaker Shri Somnath Chatterjee, along with signatures of over one million workers of the unorganised sector. On 10th May, 2005 this representation was forwarded by the Honourable Speaker to the Prime Minister, along with a copy to Late Shri Madhu Dandawate. On 13th May, 2005 Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, Chairman of the NCC-USW, also wrote to the Prime Minister enclosing a copy of the Petition and the draft legislation prepared by the NCC-USW. The UPA government then began to look into the issue.
After the above petition was submitted, a Draft Bill for Unorganised Sector Workers was proposed by the National Advisory Council (N.A.C.) for discussion. Subsequently, twin Bills were proposed by the National Commission on Enterprises in Unorganised Sector (NCEIUS) and circulated for comments. The National Centre for Labour (NCL) had also submitted a Bill of its proposal for Unorganised Sector Workers. The Union Labour Ministry also prepared a Bill, similar to the Bills prepared by it during the NDA government. The Central Trade Unions jointly submitted a critique of these two Bills along with their suggestions to the Labour Minister. NCC-USW has also presented a critique of the Bills proposed by both NAC and NCEIUS.
On 22nd Nov 2005 Labour Secretary Shri. K.M.Sahani had called a joint meeting at which representatives of NCC-USW, NCL, NAC and NCEIUS were present. He had assured us that a Drafting Committee would be constituted which would consider all the proposals including the proposals of NCC-USW and a Bill would be finalised within two weeks.
On 9-10 December 2005 at the 40th Session of the Indian Labour Conference also it was assured that a Drafting Committee would soon finalize the Government Bill.
However, the drafting committee promised at these two platforms was not formed. Instead, the NCEUS came out with its report on 17th May 2006 without consulting either the Central Trade Unions or considering the petition and Bill prepared by the NCC-USW and pending before the Petitions Committee of the Lok Sabha.
Now the chances are that the Labour Ministry will not (be allowed to) consider or incorporate the suggestions coming from different segments of USW, including the Central Trade Unions, before introducing the Government Bill in the next session of Parliament. We know that once a Bill is introduced in the Parliament, mere amendments proposed on the floor of the House cannot change the basic structure of the Bill. Refering the Bill to a Select Committee would, on the other hand, result in delay which must definitely be avoided.
Since the Bill proposed by the NCEUS is basically unworkable, there is urgent need that all critics of the Bills come together and demand a workable Bill which can really provide social security to the unorganized sector workers. We must collectively say NO to attempts at introducing a half-baked bill which is bound to fail in its purpose.
In this scenario, the NCC-USW has called a joint meeting with the Central Trade Unions, inviting also representatives of both the NAC and NCEUS representatives, to look for a viable Bill. We need to strategies to ensure that only a really workable Bill, which has the support of all the Central Trade Union and other organisations of USW, is introduced by the Government in Parliament.
We hope that you will attend this vital meeting,