HMS National Conference for Ratification of ILO Conventions 87 & 98

As a part of HMS campaign for ratification of ILO conventions 87 & 98 a National Conference “Need and Importance of Ratification of ILO Conventions 87 and 98” was held on 30th May 2011 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Representatives from Central Trade Union Organizations viz BMS, CITU, AITUC, AIUTUC, Employers Associations, ILO DWT Country office for India and ITSs viz ITF, IMF, BWI and senior leaders of HMS participated in this conference.

Comrade R.A.Mital, Secretary, HMS welcomed the guests and participants and explained the significance of the conference stating in brief the pitiable condition of workers specially in the unorganized sector. He was of the view that ratification of ILO Conventions 87 &98 could pave the way to improve the condition of these workers but the government is not willing to do so as is clear from the statement of the Union Labour Minister in Parliament on 9th March 2011 which states that the Government of India was not in a position to ratify ILO Conventions 87 &98 as it would grant certain rights to Government employees against statutory provisions. He explained in detail the efforts made by HMS to carry on this campaign so as to awake the sheepish Government from deep slumber.

Ms Tine Stearmose, Director, ILO, DWT for South Asia, New Delhi appreciated that HMS was an important partner of ILO which had conducted several joint activities to promote and realize the goal of decent work in India.

She referred to various ILO Declarations and congratulating HMS on completion of one year of campaign desired sustained campaign to be continued till the goal was achieved which was not easy.

Comrade Umraomal Purohit, General Secretary, HMS in his inaugural address expressed his happiness that senior leaders of HMS were participating in the Conference. He voiced his concern over the workers situation in the country stating that hard won rights were being taken away and the workers were just helpless as they were unable to unite and form a union. 94% of the workforce of the country was deprived of right to form union and Freedom of Association. They were just at the mercy of employers.

Comrade Purohit stated that Indian Trade Union Movement was more than 100 years old but even then it could cover 6 to 7 percent of the total workforce. They were also divided in 66,000 unions under 15 National Centers.” We have to go a long way to bring the work force under one banner”, he said. It was easy to attract workers on economic issues but on the issue of violation of trade union rights it was very difficult. Quoting a number of examples, he pointed out that the remedy was the strong trade union movement.

Comrade Pruohit stressed upon the need to constantly educate and train the workers on the importance and need of ratification of the ILO core conventions and congratulated the campaign team for the excellent work they had done.

Dr. Pravin Sinha, Secretary General, India Industrial Relations Association presented a paper on “Securing Ratification of ILO Conventions on Freedom of Associations and Collective Bargaining”. He said that India as a founder member of ILO was actively involved in the adoption process of ILO Conventions but when it came to ratification of core labour standards especially conventions 87 and 98, it took a different stand. He said that the government had to change its attitude. Dr. Sinha said that Convention 87 had been ratified by 150 countries and Convention 98 by 160 countries including our neighbours.”When they can ratify, why not we?”, he asked. The session was chaired by Com. R.A.Mital. There was a elaborate discussion on his presentation by the participants wherein lot of useful suggestions were made to further strengthen the efforts for ratification of the two conventions. Conclusions and recommendations of the conference were drawn which were presented by Brother A.B. Castro, Sr. Specialist Workers Activities, ILO, DWT for South Asia, New Delhi.

The conference placed on record its deep appreciations for the efforts made by HMS in bringing about awareness of the need and importance of ratification of ILO core conventions.

The conference concluded with a vote of thanks by Comrade R.A.Mital.
 

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


Trade union leaders and officers  from central trade union organizations and global union federations attending the HMS National Conference on “Need and Importance of Ratification of ILO Conventions 87 and 98 held on 30 May 2011 in New Delhi:

BELIEVES     that in promoting decent work for all and inclusive development, the promotion and protection of workers’ rights through   ratification and application of the ILO core labour conventions is   desirable;

DEPLORES the Government of India’s recent pronouncement that   it is    not ratifying the   conventions 87 and 98 because that would involve granting certain rights to government employees against statutory provisions.  
RECOGNIZES that India needs to act without delay   on ratification of Conventions 87 and 98 in fulfillment of its obligation as a founder member of the ILO   as also being the largest democratic country in the world.  
DISTURBED that India, as an emerging economic power in the world and   a global player being a part of the G20, BRICS, WEF, ASEAN, WTO among others,  lacks the political will and continues to ignore the responsibility of following global rules including   the ILO’s human rights Conventions 87 and 98;
ALARMED    that the workers rights contained in the Constitution of India and existing labour and trade union laws are not sufficient guarantees for effective exercise and protection of workers’ economic and social interests as the enabling environment    for unionism continues to be severely restricted due to   growing attacks and violations of labour rights;
APPRECIATES the efforts of the HMS to bring about sustained and broad awareness of the need and importance of ratification of ILO core conventions;
RECOMMENDS  that the trade union ratification campaign should be intensified and that other central trade unions should undertake activities  that will ensure    involvement of workers and unions at various levels;
FURTHER RECOMMENDS that trade unions to ensure that the ratification of ILO Core Labour Conventions should be a main agenda item for discussion at the next Indian Labour Conference;
RECALLS  that the 2010 National Trade Union Conference on Core Labour Standards set forth a number of action programs   to be carried out jointly by the central trade union organizations;
DEMANDS immediate attention to the decisions and agreements arrived at the said Conference such as the immediate constitution  of the Trade Union Task Force on CLS which   will collectively strategize, plan and implement activities to ensure that ILO Conventions 87 and 98 is ratified by June 2012;    
COMMITS  to support, implement and prioritize activities that will create and broaden awareness not only among workers but also of the general public   on the need and importance of ratifying  the ILO Conventions 87 and 98 by India;
REQUESTS the ILO to continue to provide technical support to the efforts of trade unions in India for workers’ education and enhance
 

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