About the Campaign

HMS Initiates Campaign for Ratification of Core Labour
Standards in India

The Campaign is being carried out in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and UP. The campaign strategy includes following activities across these states.

Training cum Planning Workshop

For a long time, trade unions have made repeated demands for the Government of India to ratify core conventions and respect its obligations as a founding member of the ILO. So far, India has ratified 41 Conventions but the government declared that “the guarantee provided for in C87 and 98 are by and large in conformity with the relevant provisions of the Indian Constitution, national laws and regulations.” It has also maintained that “the rights guaranteed under these two Conventions are also available to industrial and other workers through laws and practices.” At the same time, India has also consistently cited some technical problems in ratifying C87 and 98.

India’s continued failure to ratify these two (2) core conventions has only served to increase attacks on trade union rights and violations of labour laws as reported by the International Trade Union Rights Violations. There has also been increasing incidence, based on media accounts, of preventing the formation of unions which come in the form of dismissals, employee transfers and connivance with law enforcement authorities particularly in the private sector, especially those that are run by India’s business giants.

A recent joint statement signed by nine (9) trade unions considers the non-ratification of the core conventions as contributing further to continued agitation, industrial disturbance and non-extension of social security. The statement also expressed that India has an obligation to ratify these core conventions being a founding member of the ILO as well as the largest democratic country in the world with more than 400 million workers.

HMS with the support of ILO has, therefore, decided to launch a sustained yearlong campaign, which intends to intensify trade union actions and influence the ratification of ILO Conventions 87 and 98 in India. Based on activities led by trade unions, it will aim to create an enabling environment for trade unionism in India and influence the government of India to take positive steps to ratify and adhere to the core conventions.

The campaign will be carried out in NCR (New Delhi, Faridabad, Noida, Gurgaon), Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Haryana. More states may be added subsequently as per availability of resources. Areas will be selected on the basis of maximum project impact and trade union presence.

Outputs:

The expected outputs of the campaign will be :

Keeping the above background and outputs in view a three days National Training Cum Planning Workshop for HMS Campaign group was held at India Habitat Centre New Delhi from 29th to31st March 2010 with 22 participants from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Noida, Moradabad, as per list annexed as A1.

The objective of the workshop were:

The workshop was inaugurated by Com.Umraomal Purohit, General Secretary, Hind Mazdoor Sabha. In his inaugural address Com. Purohit said that HMS has been demanding ratification of core ILO conventions by India since long. He said the India’s record of ratification of ILO conventions/recommendations is poor even in respect of Core Labour Convention. Non ratification of Conventions 87 & 98 is leading to most labour conflicts in erespect of formation of trade unions. Theere is no law for recognition of Trade Unions in the absence of which Collective Bargaining has no maning. Hence there is a need for a sustainable ratification of Convention 87 & 98 followed by enactment of relevant law.

In his opening remark Mr. Andre Bogui, Director a.i. ILO –SRO for South Asia said that ILO conventions 87 and 98 which deal with freedom of Association , Right to organize and collective bargaining were passed by ILO 61years back, 160 countries have so far ratified convention 98, Government of India has not. He said ratification of above convention will ensure dignity of workers at workplace.

Ms. Christine Nathan, Regional Workers Education specialist, ILO Regional office, for Asia and Pacific, Bangkok, said,” India is the 1st country to undertake such campaign and HMS the 1st Central Trade Union of the country to initiate”. She said that programmes should be work place focused, result oriented and emphasized accountability of action.

Mr.Coen Kompier, Senior Specialist, International Labour Standards discussed the ILO Convention on Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining at length. He also discussed Elimination of Child Labour-ILO International Standards and Principles and said Child Labour has become a serious problem specially in Asia. He emphasized upon importance of ratification of convention 138 and 182.

Mr.Ariel B.Castro shared his experiences working with trade unions in Philippines and helped in conduct of the Group Work on Role of Trade Unions in effective implementation of CLS.

Com.R.A.Mital, Secretary, HMS coordinated the group discussion, as a result of which the undernoted issues were identified being faced by majority of the workers(unorganized sector) due to non-ratification of Conventions 87 & 98 and .enactment of Labour Laws on the subject.

Same way the main sectors were identified as under:

It was, therefore, decided to launch campaign in these sectors concentrating on the above issues which will be directly understood by the workers and make the campaign more effective.

Dr.Kamala Sankaran, Reader, Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi discussed Law and Practice on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining in India- Key issues and challenges.

Com.R.A.Mital, Secretary HMS explained in details as to how the campaign was to be taken forward by HMS activists. He told that campaign for the time being will be carried out in Punjab, Haryana, Faridabad and Gurgaon, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Noida, Moradabad may be spread over to other parts as per the need and availability of resources. Com.Mital said in all around 700 trade union activists are to be trained and utilized in time bound campaign for one year. He told there would be five one day Workers Education sessions at different places in each state with 20 participants/activists each to be coordinated by State Coordinators and campaigners with an objective of sensitizing them on the issue of importance of ratification of core ILO Conventions. Workers so trained would be spreading the message at grass root level and motivating all stake holders for their active participation in the campaign.

Letters for M.Ps and MLAs are to be written. State Coordinators will manage meetings with the MLAs and M.Ps of the area with adequate material on the need of ratification of the Convention. Coordinator should try to obtain the consent/commitment of public representatives. They would also attempt similar meetings with the Government officers.

At least :One public rally is to be organized in each state preferably at the state capital. There a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister will to be handed over to the Chief Minister/Labour Minister/Labour Commissioner/District Magistrate as the case may be. Press media is to be involved.

At least one Press Conference after every two months is to be organized in the state.

Meeting of core campaign group to be held every two months to monitor the progress of the campaign at New Delhi tentatively in May, July, September, November 2010, January and March 2011. One Tripartite meeting in each state to be organized by November 2010 and one at National level tentatively in January 2011.

A High level symposium will be organized tentatively in the month of August 2010 to apprise the stake holders the urgent need of ratification of ILO Convention 87, 98 , 138 and 182. Another national symposium will be organized in New Delhi to apprise the stake holders of the work done and also to release the report of the campaign.

Action plan proposed by the State groups:

Based upon the above discussion the different state groups submitted their action plans which will be taken up during the campaign.

About the Campaign