ILC

PM INAUGURATES 46TH INDIAN LABOUR CONFERENCE

Shows Respects to Tripartite Mechanism

Decisions of 43rd,44th,45th ILC be implemented

Sidhu Louds Protection of Workers Right

 

New Delhi- July, 20: 46th Indian Labour conference was held at Vigyan Bhawan, new Delhi on 20-21 July, 2015.It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi who in his inaugural address assured that the Government  will respect the Tripartite mechanism  and over all exercise of labour law amendments should also be  discussed in tripartite meetings. He said he had seen poverty, fully understand it and he had zeal to do something for the poor.

 

The Prime Minister was welcomed by Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, Minister of State I/C for Labour and Employment who also expressed Government’s faith in tripartite mechanism in his welcome address.

 

Shri Arun Jaitley Finance Minister was the Guest of Honour. In his address Shri Jaitley also shared the same views.

 

The Indian Labour Conference discussed the following agenda:

 

Agenda Item 1: Implementation of conclusions/recommendations of 43rd, 44th and 45th Indian Labour Conference, particularly on Contract Labour, Minimum Wages, Scheme Workers and tripartite mechanism.

 

Agenda Item 2: Social Security for workers in organized sector unorganised sector and International Migrant Workers.

 

Agenda Item 3: Removal of conditions on payment ceiling, eligibility limits, decisions to pay Minimum Bonus without linking to loss when the performance indicator satisfy grant of bonus.

 

Agenda Item 4: Labour Laws amendments proposed/ done by Central or State Government.

 

Agenda Item 5: Employment and Employment Generation.

 

The General Secretary, Hind Mazdoor Sabha Comrade Harbhajan Singh Sidhu in his address said that there is very vast difference between what Governments says and its actions on ground. The Prime Minister says it’s a common man Government. I shall be “Pradhan Sewak” not Pradhan Mantry and would be available to all.   He today said he has seen poverty and has zeal to do something for the poor, he believes in Shram Eb Jayate but since taking over as Prime Minister he could not spare time for workers. The unilateral anti worker / anti people Labour Law amendments in some labour friendly provisions of Labour Laws are clear indication whose interests are being protected. To explain his point he referred some of the recent amendment done / brought and their impact on workers. He said if all the proposed amendments are implemented more that 75% of the industrial units will be out of coverage of any labour law. He said India is founder member of ILO is in its Governing Body, has ratified Convention 144 on Tripartite Consultation. It has also ratified Convention 1 on hours of work (Industry) Convention No.4, 41, and 81 on night work for women even then it could dare to propose night work for women or enhancing the hours of working or number of hours for over time per quarter. He appealed the Government to discuss all important issues with stake holders and only then proceed further. He also demanded immediate implementation of conclusions/recommendations of 43rd, 44th and 45th ILC specifically decision pertaining to Minimum Wage, Contract Workers, Scheme Workers. Latter Conference Committees were formed for various agendas. Conclusions and recommendations of various Groups are attached. The Government side was very positive in their speech but we have to see how quickly how much and how effectively it is implemented. The general environment of the conference despite differences was cordial.

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SUBMISSION BY

HIND MAZDOOR SABHA

ON THE 43rd SESSION OFTHE INDIAN LABOUR CONFERENCE

HELD AT VIGYAN BHAVAN- NEW DELHI – 23RD -24TH NOVEMBER, 2010

 

Greetings from HMS !

 

The 43rd  Session of Indian Labour Conference is being held at a time when the whole country is trying to wriggle out of the worst economic  turbulence which has swallowed millions of jobs, throwing workers on the streets to fend for themselves. This is coupled with galloping inflation and soaring food prices which have placed unbearable burden on common man. The workers in the unorganized sector of the economy have been put under greatest possible strain and the entire working class have not so far been able to fully come out of it.

 

This august tripartite forum is meeting after a gap of almost 21 months whereas it has time and again been promised to hold the session every year. Needless to point out that such a gap undermines the belief in tripartitism and reduces opportunities  of joining heads of the three social partners on issue of vital importance, sort out the differences and arrive at amicable solutions.

 

HMS has constantly been pointing out that the Labour machinery has become defunct and the so called comprehensive Labour Laws are being hoodwinked at will. Like other departments of the government, the Labour ministry is also forced to surrender of posts and there is not sufficient Staff to ensure implementation of Labour Laws. HMS is not aware whether the government is considering to outsource this activity also and if so, HMS would like to be enlightened on this issue. The condition of Labour Courts in the country is worst. The entire issue of implementation of Labour Laws needs to be looked into seriously.

 

The globalization has brought in its fold informalisation and casualisation of work force. The employment of perennial nature is casualised or contractualised. The organized sector is shrinking and the unorganized sector is fast expanding putting at stake the hard won rights of the workers. The workers in unorganized sector do not have fixed working hours, proper wages, Social Security and other Labour rights. The HMS would like to caution the government of the simmering discontentment amongst the workers in this sector.

 

Now coming to the financial position of two categories of the country’s population, Haves and Have – Nots; on one hand the common man (aam aadmi) has increasingly been finding it difficult to earn wages to keep himself and his family alive and on the other, there are sufficient number of people who appear to be at full liberty to illegally outflow finances with impunity. As per latest estimates about Rs.21 Lakh crore has been siphoned out of the country, the amount which could have wiped off country’s debt in addition to tackling poverty. Knowing fully well that this is not the forum to discuss this issue the HMS would like to place on record the serious concern of the working class of the country as the whole exercise affects them very badly. HMS is hopeful that government will take note of this also.

 

The agenda items included for discussion are of great relevance and significance. However, HMS would like to point out that agenda for the 43rd session is the same as that of 42nd session as HMS wanted agenda items to be repeated with a view to find out a solution. However, HMS is disappointed to see the repetition of old remarks and there is no tangible improvement during the last about two years.

 

HMS views on each item of agenda are enclosed along.

 

   

 

(Umraomal Purohit)

General Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item I: Global Financial downturn – its impact – job losses – comprehensive package of protection of labour force, etc.

 

The agenda note mentions under para 1.2 that a ‘Global Jobs Pact’ has been evolved during the 98th Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) of the ILO held in June, 2009. Its strategic objective is to place employment and labour market issues, together with social protection and respect for workers’ rights, at the heart of stimulus packages and other relevant national policies to confront the crisis, using social dialogue as a key consensus –building too.

Putting employment and social protection at the core of recovery policies will essentially require placing emphasis on the following:

  • Safeguard viable jobs through skill support and to limit wasteful lay-offs.
  • Support jobseekers through well-designed unemployment benefits.
  • Employment guarantee programmes are effective, especially in developing countries.
  • Increase investment in employment-intensive infrastructure and public goods.
  • Invest in food security and rural development
  • Introduce or extend social protection to low-income groups and informal workers.
  • Support for migrant workers
  • Protect and promote workers’ rights and international labour standards.

 

While we appreciate the willingness of the Government of India to agree with this global jobs pact, there is no mention in the agenda note on how the government plans to ADHERE TO it. The Global Jobs Pact puts employment and social protection at the core of the recovery policies but Government of India’s initiatives to mitigate the adverse impact comprise of:

 

-       Fiscal and Monetary measures which are only in the form of stimulus packages focusing on relief in direct and indirect taxes.

  • The stimulus packages do not focus on employment and social protection at all. They primarily benefit the industry and are not helping the workers who are the hardest hit by the crisis.
  • Infact the Government must bear in mind that increasing tax concessions imply financial loss to the exchequer which will result in reduction in public spending which can lead to a further deepening of the crisis and its social implications.
  • The government of India has so far spent Rs.2.18 lakh Crore on the stimulus packages but how much workers have been benefitted and how many jobs have been created is still unknown?

 

-       Employment generation is supposed to have been achieved through various schemes like (Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana; Swarn Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana; Prime Minister’s employment Generation Programme; National Rural Employment Guarantee Act changed to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural employment Guarantee Act). All these schemes have been in existence prior to the eruption of Global Financial crisis. What is required to be examined is:

 

 - Impact of these schemes ,

 - overall status of coverage since these schemes were started

 - number of jobs created under each

 - and how have they contributed in reducing the effects of the financial crisis

 

-       Social Security Schemes which are again not new. Trade unions had demanded from the government comprehensive social security for unorganized workers. After several drafts were circulated and discussed the Unorgansied Workers Social Security Act (UWSSA) was passed in 2008. It is intended to provide social security to 94 % of 459.1 million work force , but falls drastically short of what it promises. The Act comprises of pre existing schemes not giving any new benefits to the workers, social security is not even defined in the act, it is not justiciable and is not a right for the workers. It has no financial memorandum attached to it. Though the Act has all these deficiencies, HMS supported the Act and is of the view that improvements can be introduced through experience gained while implementing the law. We are aware that at the central level the Board has been formed and has had meetings. We would like to ask the government a few questions on the status of implementation of this Act:

  • How many  states have notified the Act and formulated the rules?
  • How many states have formed the board?
  • What is the number of workers registered under the UWSSA?
  • In which states has the registration taken place? By when will all the states be covered?
  • Does the government plan to extend the Act to the non BPL category?

 

HMS also reiterates that social security for workers cannot really be provided unless the government takes steps for regulating the employment of the workers in the unorgansied sector.

 

-       The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana is another social security scheme, which we consider is a positive first step at providing health care to unorgansied workers. the inclusion of Maternity Benefits under RSBY is also positive. Yet there remain several limitations;

 

  • The cashless mediclaim of Rs 30000 remains grossly inadequate for the hospitalization of the entire family for one year. The cost of procedures is high and it is feared that it will continue to increase. Is the government considering increasing the amount from Rs 30000?
  • While 17 million smart cards have already been issued, data available on the government websites indicate that the states with high rate of BPL families have low enrolment rates. The highest beneficiary of the scheme is the state of Kerala. How is it being ensured that the poorest of poor are not left out when the scheme is implemented?
  • What is the mechanism to ensure transparency of the insurance agencies? How is the government ensuring that the insurance agencies are not taking from the workers more than they are spending?
  • Does the government plan to extend the scheme to the non BPL category?

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-       There are a few other schemes mentioned in the agenda note: Indira Gandhi Old Age Pension Scheme launched in 2007 which provides a pension of Rs 200 to BPL citizens above 65 years and an additional contribution by the state;   Aaam Adami Bima Yojana started in 2007 meant for death and disability insurance cover to rural landless households – Rs 30000 in case of disability and Rs 75000 in case of death and scholarship for children; the Rajiv Gandhi Shramik Kalyan Yojana started in 2005 meant for unemployment benefit in case of retrenchment upto 50 % of wage upto 12 months. We would like to understand:

-        

  • What has been the scope and coverage of the schemes so far?
  • Has the government conducted any impact assessment study? What has been the outcome of the same?
  • The amount in all cases is too low and insufficient. Despite the financial crisis and price rise, there has been no increase in the amount. Then how can the government link these as measures to resolving the financial crisis? Whether the government plans to make any additions/changes in them?

 

-       With regards to skill development, we would like to know what are the specific measures taken by the government in the context of the financial crisis and what has been the impact?

 

Under Areas of concern the agenda notes mentions of two important areas:

 

(i)Price rise needs to be controlled.

 

In this connection HMS would like to draw attention to Media Reports and Supreme Court observations on huge quantity of wheat and rice rotting in FCI Godowns. We would like to ask the government:

-       What steps have been taken to augment the storage capacity of food grains?

-       Why at all should there be import of wheat & rice if our own food grain is rotting?

-       Steps taken do not seem to be having any impact on price rise despite trade unions agitation on Rising Prices and Contract Labour for a long time.

 

In this connection it may be pointed that the 8 recognised national trade union centres of the country are jointly agitating for the last two years on the issues like Price rise and condition of contract labour. WE have organized conventions, demonstrations, March to Parlioament and even one day strike to draw the attention of the government but with no results. 

 

(ii) Withdrawal of stimulus package requires to be carefully calibrated so that there is an effective balance among growth, fiscal stability and employment generation. HMS agrees with this in principle but cautions the government to ensure that it is not a premature exit as that will be a big mistake again. We feel that at this stage it is important that strategy is reinforced with focus on employment and social protection.

 

Latest projections by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicate that unemployment rates in the industrialized countries are still rising fast and will continue rising throughout this year. While HMS acknowledges that the Government of India has taken steps to ensure that financial crisis has the minimum impact. But Government must keep in mind that employment generation has no significance unless it is creation of quality jobs. Expansion of precarious forms of work and deregulation of the labour market, less than decent wage will not solve the present crisis, instead increase insecurities.

 

Government must try to put in place a comprehensive job recovery strategy in the context of the global financial crisis. This strategy must have creation of decent and sustainable jobs as its primary focus. This will benefit not only the workers but also the industry as it will help in pushing up the demand.

Item No. 2 Problems of contract labour- social security, wages, etc. and amendments in the contract labour legislations

 

HMS would like to drawn attention to the fact that Indian Labour Conference held on 20-21 February, 2009 in New Delhi recommended for the Constitution of a Tripartite Group for the purpose. The Tripartite Group had submitted its Report on 31-12-2009  From the report of the Tripartite group it is clear that:

 

There is unanimity between Employers and the workers on one issue ie the contract  labour should be provided with all statutory facilities and benefits as are available and applicable to regular employees. This should immediately be accepted and implemented through suitable amendments in the act.

 

There is virtual agreement of the Employers on the onus and responsibility in respect of contract labour. They have agreed that if the contractor fails, the Principal Employers will be required to ensure statutory compliances. This can be accepted and implemented.

 

Para 2.13 What is the progress on the unanimous amendments accepted by state labour Ministers conference held on 22.1.2010, who also made similar recommendations viz.

 

In case where the contract labour performs the same or similar kind of work as the workmen directly appointed by the Principal Employer, the wage rates, holidays, hours of work, social security and other conditions of service of contract labour shall be the same as is available to the workmen on the rolls of Principal Employer. In case same or similar kind of work is not being performed by the workmen directly employed by the Principal Employer, the Appropriate Government will notify the wage rates, holidays, hours of work, social security and other conditions of service.

 

Whenever a contract is given to a contractor, the contract agreement between the Principal Employer and the Contractor should clearly indicate the wages contribution towards social security schemes and other benefits that are to be paid by the contractor to the contracted workman.

 

Both these unanimous recommendations should have been implemented by now. More than 10 months have already passed and we have not heard of any positive developments in this regard. More and more contract labour is being appointed not only by Private Employers but also by Government and Public Sector on low wages.

ITEM No. 3 Employment Generation & Skill Development

 

Strategy for Employment Generation

 

Para 3.5 mentions policy initiatives for employment generation as part of the eleventh five year plan.

-       is there any data available to show as to how these policy initiatives are being implemented?

 

Para 3.11 Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) mentions that a special initiative has been taken up under SGSY to set up Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs), one in each district of the country for skill development training of rural BPL youth to enable them to undertake micro enterprises and wages employment.

-       Has any such Institute been set up  so far?

 

Para 3.12 Swarnjayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana(SJSRY) was launched with effect from 1-12-1997 and has been comprehensively revamped with effect from 2009-2010.

-       We would like to know What specifically has been done?

 

Para 3.13 on Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) Which was launched in August, 2008.

-       We want to know if there has been any progress? It is just merger of two earlier schemes.

 

Para 3.20 on Investment in Social Infrastructure states that the share of the Central Government expenditure on social services including rural development in total expenditure (Plan and non Plan) has increased from 10.46 per cent in 2003-2004 to 19.46 per cent in 2009-10 (BE). Paragraph 3.21 Expenditure on education as propotion of total expenditure has increased from 9.7 per cent in 2004-05 to 10.6 per cent in 2009-10 (BE) The share of health in total expenditure had also increased from 4.3 per cent in 2004-05 to 4.8 per cent in 2009-10(BE).

-       How far has this increased expenditure benefitted workers?

 

 

(b) Skill Development:

 

HMS Submits that the skill development progrmme of the government has no coherence. There are several schemes but not a coherent plan. Involvement of private sector should not take away the responsibility of the state

 

There is no clear distinction between formal education and skill development and therefore the former gets reduced to a nominal programme without trained teachers and a well crafted curriculum.

 

Para 3.36 talks of promoting Skill Development in Unorganized Sector. Following issues need to be addressed: Skill upgradation and certification, Recognition of prior learning, Provision of Literacy and basic education, Setting up of Skill Development Centers (SDCs) and Provision of Mobile training vans for larger out reach.

 

It is nowhere indicated about the progress made in each of the issues so far.

 

Para 3.44 Craftsman Training Scheme (CTS)

 

According to the statistics made available-(as on 15th July, 2010)

 

Number of ITIs/ITCs           8306(2140 ITIs in Government Sector 6166 ITCs in private Sector)

Seating Capacity                 11.61 lakh(4.42 lakhs in Govt. ITIs and 7.18 in private ITCs)

 

When such a large number of people are being trained through Private ITIs. Why mismatch then? What is the status of employment of those trained through the private ITIs?

 

Para 3.46 (i) How many ITIs  out of 100 to be upgraded into Centres of Excellence have been up graded after release of total fund allocation is no where indicated which is of great relevance.

 

 

Para 3.46(ii) It is no where indicated as to how many ITIs out of 400 to be upgraded under World Bank assisted Vocational Training Improvement Project have been upgraded so far as more than 50% funds have already been released by the centre to states.

 

Para 3.46(iii) Again it is said that upgradation of the remaining 1,396 Government ITIs through Public Private Partnership was launched during 2007-08 with an outlay of Rs. 3,550 crore for a period of 5 years. Under the Scheme, 300 ITIs are being covered every year and an amount of Rs. 2.5 Crore is being released to each ITI as interest free loan repayable in 20 equal annual installment in 30 year after a moratorium of 10 years. Accordingly at least 600 ITIs should have been upgraded. How many have so far been upgraded? A review is essential.

 

Para 3.46(iv) mentions two schemes. Both the Schemes have closed in March, 2010.

  • Whether the 37 ITIs supposed to be upgraded have been upgraded and 3 New ITIs, two in Sikkim and 1 in Assam and one woman ITI IN J&K have been setup?  And  if not by when the work shall be completed.

 

Para (V) Skill Development Initiative: The costs of successful trainees are met by Government of India. So far 10,01,250 trainees have been trained. What is the status of employment of those trained?

 

(vi) Kaushal Vikas Yojana project to set up 1,500 ITIs & 5,000 SDCs in PPP mode

It is said that in the first phase, approx. 500 institutes would be set up suitably packaged as commercially viable project. Thereafter rest 6000 institutes would be set up by replication process @ 1500 institutes every six month. What is the Progress so far?

 

Issues for deliberation

 

Issues for deliberations are basically the concerns of the trade unions/worker, may be equally of the employers as well. What was expected was solutions, Which are not found to be forthcoming? We could discuss better if there were specific areas where our support or help is required

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

Conference Committee on “Global Financial Down Turn – its impact- Job losses – Comprehensive Package for protection of Labour force, Etc.”

 

The conference Committee is of the unanimous view that the recommendations made in the 42nd ILC Session including short-term and long-term strategies should be followed more vigorously particularly in areas of

 

  • Strict implementation of labour laws on lay-offs, retrenchment, job losses, closures etc.

 

  • The broad based social security including unemployment insurance should be devised.

 

  • The availability of credit at concessional rate of interest to micro, small and medium enterprises besides traditional and export oriented industries by banks/financial institutions.

 

  • Consideration of Urban employment Guarantee Scheme.

 

  • The scope of Public distribution System be extended to all unorganized workers in terms of commodities and coverage.

 

  • Skill Training/re-training of workers affected by economic slowdown etc.

 

The recommendations as long term strategies such as

 

  • Statutory fixation of National Floor Level minimum wage to cover all employments.

 

  • More investment in infrastructure, non-conventional, renewable source of energy, agro based industries so as to stimulate domestic demand.

 

  • Extending employment guarantee from 100 days to 180 days as recommended by ILO.

 

Further, the Committee was of the view that the stimulus and financial assistance packages should continue and provide more focus on employment generation to compensate their loss in wages or job losses due to economic slowdown.

 

  • It should be ensured that stimulus packages also percolate to micro small and medium enterprises.

 

  • The ILO code on Multi National corporations (MNCs) should also be strictly followed in India.

 

  • The labour intensive industries can be provided with some incentives, which will enable them to create more employment.

 

  • The investment should ensure job creation and job retention.

 

  • There is need to provide adequate funding to the Unorganised Workers Social Security Fund so that the social security schemes can be implemented.

 

  • To extend social protection to all workers in the informal sectors as well as for migrant workers.

 

  • To take appropriate measures on “Jobless Recovery” and “Unequal Development” in order to curtail the number of working poor.

 

  • The recommendations of the Tripartite Expert Committee Report given on 30th June, 2009 constituted by ILO, Delhi may also be followed up.

 

  • The adequate steps to be taken for investment in Education, health care in rural areas.

 

  • Comprehensive package for workers who lost jobs on account of economic crises.

 

  • All steps to be taken in order to strengthen the Tripartite Social Dialogue for alleviating the difficulties caused on account of the crises.

 

  • The Standing Tripartite mechanism to be devised to implement and monitor periodically the recommendations of the various conference committees due to economic slowdown as well as ongoing global financial crises.

 

  • Due to the effects of economic slowdown in construction industry, welfare schemes devised for Construction Workers Fund should be implemented so as to benefit the construction workers to provide benefits such as housing, scholarships, maternity benefit etc. to construction workers.

 

  • The Workers/employees who return from home from other countries on account of job loss due to recession should be protected by appropriate measures.

 

 

CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ON PROBEMS OF CONTRACT LABOUR, SOCIAL SECURITY, WAGES, ETC. AND AMENDMENTS IN THE CONTRACT LABOUR LEGISLATION.

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

The Group recongnised the pressing need to protect the interests of contract workers. A Tripartite Group had been constituted by the 42nd Indian Labour Conference to suggest amendments to the Act. The report of the Tripartite Group was considered by the Group. After deliberating upon a variety of issues relating to contract labour the following resolutions were passed unanimously:

 

  1. All efforts should be made to ensure that the existing provisions of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 and Rules made there under are implemented in letter and spirit.

 

  1. The labour enforcement machinery in the Centre and the States should be strengthened by providing requisite manpower and other logistic facilities so as to ensure effective implementation of labour related legislations.

 

  1. States are mandated to constitute Tripartite State Advisory Boards under the Act. However, it was pointed out that a number of States do not have such Boards constituted. It was unanimously resolved that such States should be asked to constitute such Boards under the Act at the earliest.

 

  1. Payment should be made to the contract workers through banks. Necessary amendments should be made in the Act/Rules.

The following proposals were also considered by the Group:

1)    In case where the contract labour perform the same or similar kind of work as the workmen, directly appointed by the Principal Employer, the wage rates, holidays, hours of work, social security and other conditions of service of contract labour shall be the same as are available to the workmen on the rolls of the Principal Employer. The provision exists substantially under the existing Rules.

 

2)    The threshold limit of 20 workers for applicability of the Act should be dispensed with.

 

The aforementioned proposals were supported by the workers’ representatives as well as those from the State Governments. However, the representatives of the Employers did not agree with regard to both the aforementioned proposals on the basis of the documents submitted by them.

 

A suggestion was also given by the Workers’ Group that in the event of abolition of contract labour under section 10(2) of the Act, the workers should be absorbed/regularized. This was agreed to by the State Governments but disagreed by the Employers’ Group.

 

Apart from the above, the Workers’ Group endorsed the views of its representatives contained in the Report of the Tripartite Group. The Employers’ Group endorsed the views as given by their representatives in the Tripartite Group.

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS OF CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ON “EMPLOYMENT GENERATION AND SKILL DEVELOPMENT”

  • Employment generation should be at the top of agenda of Government.
  • Each programme/scheme/economic activity of the government may look at aspect of employment generation.
  • Agriculture is still major sector providing employment and is also an area where there is immense scope of generating employment through agro-based activities and food processing. Since there is movement of labour from rural to urban areas looking for employment, the Committee strongly felt that all round development of agriculture sector should be taken up by facilitating conducive environment to develop economic activities/industries suitable to rural areas and comprehensive infrastructure development by adequate funding.
  • Committee felt that provision to provide work for 100 days in MGNREGA workers are paid minimum wages as prescribed by the respective States. Skill development may also be given adequate focus so that assets created are sustainable in nature.
  • Committee strongly felt the need to broaden the definition of economic activities to include number of women-centric work and also activities such as own account workers like street vendors, hawkers, road-side mechanics, cobblers etc.
  • Micro and small industries are the major source of employment generation. There is need to support and sustain these industries.
  • Committee recommends that ban on recruitment in Govt. and public sector may be lifted.
  • Self-employment is contributing most in employment generation. Conductive environment, suitable financial concessions and technical and marketing support are required for promoting self employment.

SKILL DEVELOPMENT:

  • Assessment of Training needs in Agro-based industries for introduction of training programmes for benefit of people living in rural areas. Training programmes could be offered under various schemes of Central Government and State Government.
  • Keeping in view the target of training 500 million persons by year 2022 there is a need for expansion of the skill development infrastructure in country. Expansion is required both in terms of increasing seating capacity and also coverage in terms of sectors including new and emerging areas.
  • There is need to strengthening Central and State government /NCVT/SCVT etc. offices dealing with skill development activities.
  • Skill development activities have been increased manifold at state level and presently being handled by different organizations. For effective coordination there should be mechanism at State and Central level.
  • In order to maintain the quality along with expansion of skill training, there is a need for continuous monitoring and timely course correction.
  • Country is facing acute shortage of trainers in various sectors. There is need for expansion of trainers training infrastructure in the country.
  • Available infrastructure of senior secondary schools and other institutions of learning could be utilized for imparting skill dev elopement training programmes by providing additional infrastructure, if required.
  • In order to facilitate match demand and supply, it is essential to carry out skill mapping starting from district level culminating to national level. This will help in assessing the need of skill development at various levels and will help in better planning, identification of existing/new trades and facilitate infrastructure development
  • Stress may be given on finishing/last mile training like soft skills and articulation.
  • Training may be given in vernacular language and the examination may also be conducted in this language, however, they should also be given training in English language which will help them at the time of placement.
  • In states like J&K and North East PPP mode my not work as industry is not coming forward so they may be allowed to operate through government funding.
  • Though there is lot of investment in skill training, but research and is getting low priority. Therefore, this area should also be given priority.
  • Action may be taken for providing horizontal and vertical mobility to ITI pass out through national vocational qualification framework.
  • There is a continuous need for inclusion/updation of emerging skills under MES for gainful employment. A fast track mechanism may be adopted.
  • Special focus including marketing skills is required for artisans working in clusters e.g. handloom, handicraft etc.

 

44th ILC

 

Item No.1 – Minimum Wages

 

A Conference Committee was constituted to discuss Agenda Item No.(1) concerning Minimum Wages and related issues. These issues,  inter alia, include norms for fixation/revision of minimum rates of wages, Variable Dearness Allowance (VDA), National Floor Level Minimum Wages etc. On the basis of detailed discussion, the following points emerged.

 

There was consensus that the Government may fix minimum wages as per the norms/criteria recommended by the 15th ILC(1957) and the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court (Reptakos Co. Vs Workers’ Union) 1992. The Government may take necessary steps accordingly.

There was a broad consensus that the Minimum Wages Act should cover all employments and the existing restriction for its applicability on the scheduled employments only should be deleted. This will also help India ratify ILO Convention No.131.

It was broadly agreed that there should be national minimum wages applicable to all employments throughout the country.

There was broad agreement on the amendment proposals as listed out in Para 5 (iv, v and x) of the agenda note.

In respect of 5(iv), it was pointed out that the payment to the apprentices covered under the Apprentices Act should be treated differently from the other categories.

The Committee noted that at present there are 12 States/UTs who have not adopted VDA. There was a broad consensus that all States/UTs should adopt VDA.

It was also recommended that the payment of minimum wages should be done through Banks/Post Offices etc.

As regards 5(vi), it was felt that the enforcing agencies should not be given the power of adjudication and, therefore, this proposal should be re-examined.

As regards 5(ix), regarding penal provision for violation of the Act, it was felt that imprisonment clause under section 22 and 22A is harsh to the employer and may be re-examined. Further it was felt that non-maintenance of registers should not attract imprisonment.

However the Union Labour Minister said that this recommendation will be got re-examined.

 The proposal of paying different minimum wages in respect of same employment either in the centre or the state should be done away with.

 Item No.2. Social Srcurity

 

A Conference Committee was constituted to discuss the agenda item No.(iii) i.e “Social Security”. On the basis of detailed discussions, the following points emerged:

There was a broad-based consensus that the wage ceiling for the application of EPF Act be increased from the present level of Rs.6,500/- to Rs.10,000/- or Rs.15,000/- as already applicable for the ESI Corporation. Similarly, the ceiling for workers covered under EPF Act be reduced from 20 to 10. However, Laghu Udyog Bharati was not agreeable to this reduction in ceiling of number of workers.

Minimum pension under the EPS 95 be increased to some floor level, which should not be less than Rs.1,000/-, since a large number of workers receive pension which is less than that provided by the State Governments for elderly people which is normally in the range of Rs.400/- to Rs.1000/-.

The PF Accounts be computerized urgently so that the workers are able to avail the facility of PF transfer and settlement immediately, Smart Cards like RSBY be issued to PF account holders.

Minimum ceiling of 5 years of continuous service be reduced in case of gratuity and gratuity made transferable in case of change of job by the employee.

The maternity leave under the Maternity Benefit Act be increased from the present level of 12 weeks to 24 weeks. This increased maternity benefits be made available only upto two children, while the lower  limit be continued for more than two children.

Accountability on the part of organizations implementing the social security schemes be fixed in order to ensure that the beneficiaries receive the deliverables in time. Citizen Charters for these organizations be finalized early.

Amendment in the definition of wage is required in the EPF Act so as to remove the ambiguity with regards to splitting of minimum wages for the purpose of contribution.

It was felt that the funds of Rs.1000/- crore provide in National Social Security Fund (NSSF) is inadequate and it was broadly agreed that funds should be substantially increased either through imposition of cess or by increasing the corpus.

It was agreed that on the lines of National Social Security Board, State Social Security Boards must be constituted as provided under the Act by the end of the year. Some of the States viz., Karnataka, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh have already constituted these Boards to monitor welfare schemes in their respective spheres.

Social Security benefits be provided to Aanganwadi, Asha, mid day meal workers and other similar type of workers.

Unorganized sector must be brought under various social security schemes including health, insurance, education, pension, etc.

It was agreed that RSBY should be extended to all the unorganized sector workers to avail the health insurance benefits at the earliest.

There was a consensus that steps should be taken to provide OPD facility to beneficiaries under RSBY and generic medicines should be used and provided under this scheme.

Interest income of various social security funds created by the Central or State Governments be exempted from taxes.

 

 Item No.3 -  Employability and Employment

 

Recommendations of the Conference Committee on Employability on Employment.

Employment generation and Employability should be top agenda of the Govt.

Though lot of focus is being laid on training of 500 million persons by 2022, there is a need to take appropriate measures for creation of employment opportunities to offer the matching employment.

There is an urgent need to declare the National Employment Policy in order to provide enabling framework for facilitating employment generation and decent working conditions for all.

Investment in labour intensive industries should be promoted and incentivized.

Labour Market Information System should be established to get skill requirement from the industry and available skills from the institutes. In this regard, Employment Exchanges may be modernized for providing virtual job market on real time basis.

Skill mapping should be done at the local level and inventory of skill assets should be created.

ITIs should also focus on sectors beyond manufacturing and should concentrate on service sector. There is urgent need for quality assurance measures in training of ITIs and instructors.

Emphasis should be laid on development of infrastructure including storage, processing and marketing in rural areas and agro-based industries.

ITIs should focus more on popular trades keeping in view the requirement of the local industries.

Institutional arrangements for providing training in traditional skills should be encouraged and may brought under certification system.

Public awareness programme should be taken up, particularly in rural areas regarding the importance of skill development and certification of traditional skills.

There should be functional and spatial integration of State and Central infrastructure and other available resources for optimal utilization of resources.

MSMEs should be encouraged and supported to participate in the skill development efforts.

Stipend of apprentices under the Apprentices Act should be enhanced.

Existing and new Centres of Excellence/Clusters in traditional crafts should be strengthened and provided support in terms of marketing, credit, new technology, etc. to promote self-employment.

Barriers should be removed from skilling and certification of illiterate and uneducated workers.

Entrepreneurship and self-employment should be encouraged by providing necessary support.

Existing employment in the unorganized sector should be safeguarded by assuring access to natural resources for those sectors dependent on them. In order to increase their productivity appropriate advanced tools and technology for traditional producers should be developed.

Skill development should be promoted among the women and differently-abled persons. To increase participation of women in skill development, special measures should be taken.

Centres of Excellence should be established at the national and State levels which will produce world class technicians.

National level consultation with all the stakeholders should be held immediately to finalize the road-map for preparing skill development plan leading to skilled force of 500 million persons by 2022.

Comprehensive steps should be taken to create environment for employment generation and protection of existing employment.

Trainers should be trained in large numbers to meet growing requirement.

 

45th Session of Indian Labour conference -

Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, 17-18 May, 2013

 

Views of HIND MAZDOOR SABHA:

Hind Mazdoor Sabha first of all welcomes the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India for finding out time to inaugurate the Indian Labour Conference. Sir, your presence gives this Conference some respectability and seriousness rather than converting it into a talking shop but finally even your suggestions have not given us some serious results. Inspite of best intentions of your government the  condition of the poorer sections of the labour force has not improved.

The world of work is looking at you with high hopes that you will find out ways and means to improve both the deteriorating Industrial Relation situation and the condition of labour force in the country. We are to looking  towards Decent Work in real sense.

Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) while welcoming the Hon’ble Minister of Labour and Employment, Government of India for his initiative to ensure timely conduct of Indian Labour Conference would like to place its observation on record that most of the suggestions given by the employees representatives during 44th Session of Indian Labour Conference were not taken seriously and no major action has been taken on them. Even the mutually agreed suggestions have not so far shown any progress in implementation.

Indian Labour Conference is meeting at a  time when the working class of the nation is facing multiple problems arising out of numerous steps taken by the Government in the name of globalization and liberalization. Sky-rocketing prices of essential commodities, deep rooted corruption in all walks of life, unchecked violation of labour laws, victimization, beating, arrests of trade union leaders, implicating them in various false criminal charges only because they want to form Trade Unions. Huge deficit of Mutual Trust among workers and employers. Diluting workers friendly provisions of labour statutes to help corporate and multinationals, mass scale contractorisation and out sourcing , huge disparity between the wages and service conditions of permanent and contract workers, huge deficit of decent work  component everywhere which includes right to organise and collective bargaining, social security and social dialogue. Disinvestment of profit earning public sector undertakings, the economy moving towards informalization, many of the jobs that have banished are returning in the form of casual and contract jobs in small scale ;industries where the quality of employment is substandard, working and service conditions very poor, wage are very low and social security is nonexistent.

All these have made the life of working class very miserable. The workers are looking forward for some positive discussion and decisions coming out of 45th ILC on these burning Issues.  HMS hopes that if due consideration is given to the above mentioned issues during the detailed discussion in ILC it may conclude with some concrete proposals or measures to be taken and improve the deteriorating Industrial relations/Industrial peace.

Even the two days general strike of 20-21st February, 2013, which was participated by crores of workers and crippled the industrial productions in many sectors of the country has not been taken seriously by the Government. We do not understand what this government wants whether complete chaos in the country or what? 

ITEM NO. I: Service conditions, wages and social security for various categories of workers employed in different Central Government and State Government Scheme (Aanganwadi, Mid day meal, ASHA, Sarva-Shiksha Abhiyan and other schemes under various Ministries of Central Government).

There are lakhs of workers employed under different schemes by the Central/State Governments performing miscellaneous work for years together with very nominal payments and waiting for their regularization. Few to mention are –

ASHA workers appointed under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in each village as accredited social health activist. These workers have been trained to work as an interface between the community and public health system but they have not been recognized as Government employees as they have been treated as voluntary activists.

Around 30 lakh cook-cum-helpers (CCH) have been engaged for preparing and serving of mid day meal to the elementary class children studying in Government, Government aided, local body schools, schools run under National Child Labour Projects, Education Guarantee Scheme/Alternative and innovative Education (AIE) Centre, Madarsa/ Maqtabs recognized under Sharva Siksha Abhiyan.

They work for about 3-4 hours per day and paid honorarium of Rs.1000/- per month. Some States like Uttrarakhand, Kerala, Mizoram, Karnataka, and Punjab are paying more than Rs.1000/- p.m. In Tamil Nadu noon meal workers are regular employees of the State Government.

Hind Mazdoor Sabha demands that these workers be treated as regular employees of State Government and be paid accordingly.

Similar is the fate of lakhs of  Aanganwadi workers, Aanganwadi helpers and Supervisors engaged in 13.1 lakh operational centres against 13.7 lakhs sanctioned centres under 7005 operational projects against 7076 sanctioned projects. The scheme is sponsored by the Central Government and implemented by States/UTs. Presently out of 13.72 lakh sanctioned Aanganwadi workers and 12.54 lakh Aanganwadi helpers  13.31 lakh Aanganwadi Workers and 11.59 Aanganwadi Helpers are working as “Honorary workers” whose honorarium was enhanced w.e.f. 1.4.2011. Presently an AWWS gets Rs.3000/- p.m. and Aanganwadi Helper Rs.1500 p.m. These workers are getting some monetary incentives by some of the State Governments for the additional functions assigned to them under other schemes. These workers are working since long but their services have not been regularizing so far.

Surprisingly, Ministry of Women and Child Dev elopement does not find their case fit for regularization keeping in view the nature and the role of Aanganwadi Workers and Aanganwadi Helpers.

Hind Mazdoor Sabha demands that Aanganwadi Workers,  Aanganwadi Helpers and Aanganwadi Supervisors be regularized, may be in phased manner and be given appropriate wages.

ITEM NO. 2: Social Security with special reference to Assured Pension with Indexation for all workers including self employed.

In India unorganized workers constitutes more than 93% of the total workforce. They are compelled to work under very poor working conditions on low wages, with no amenities and almost nil or minimal social security. Govt. of India after prolonged persuasion by the Trade Unions enacted unorganized workers Social Security Act, 2008 with an objective of providing social security cover to unorganized workers with very inadequate provisions. The trade unions also demanded that a National Social Security Fund be established for providing social security to unorganized workers. National Social Security Fund was established with a meager budget allocation of Rs.1000 crore only. Instead of increasing the budget allocation there were attempts to cut the budget allocation.

Hind Mazdoor Sabha strongly demands that appropriate amendments especially regarding universal coverage for the unorganised workers be brought in the Act and budget allocation of National Social Security Fund be increased to 3% of GDP.

Aam Admi Bima Yojna is a welcome step. Regarding Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna it should have universal coverage including domestic workers.

There should be periodic, regular, effective monitoring of implementation to ensure its smooth sailing. The scheme should be open for social audit which will keep check on irregularities if any.

Swavalamban Yojna is linked to New Pension Scheme which is administered by interim Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA). The benefit is only for members of NPS with a minimum contribution of Rs.1000 and maximum of Rs.12000/- per annum. New Pension Scheme has been implemented without being approved by the Parliament and the benefit under NPS are much lesser than those under EPS 95. This practically does not mean a Social Security in the real sense. Hind Mazdoor Sabha has thus always opposed NPS and even today demands old Pension System to be restored, which is in real sense a Social Security for workers.

Employees’ representatives have demanded the indexation of Pension. An expert Committee appointed by the Government to review it suggested that “the actuarial cost of pro viding any such benefit is so huge that no workable solution can be found”. This is not acceptable to Hind Mazdoor Sabha. If need be increase rate of contribution but  don’t deny the indexation.

Hind Mazdoor Sabha would like to emphasis the recommendations of the Conference Committee constituted to discuss the agenda item No.III in 44th ILC i.e. Social Security where in there was a Broad based consensus to reduce the ceiling of the workers covered under EPF Act from 20 to 10. Minimum Pension under EPS 95 should be Rs.1000/-p.m. Condition of minimum 5 years of continuous service to get gratuity be reduced, gratuity be made transferable. Maternity leave under Maternity Benefit Act be increased from present 12 weeks to 24 weeks as has already been done by the Central Government for its employees. Interest income of various social security funds created by the Central or State Governments be exempted from taxes. In addition while reiterating the 10 Point Charter of demands of the National Convention of workers held on 14th September, 2012, HMS demands to remove all ceilings on payment and eligibility of Bonus, Provident Fund and Increase in the quantum of gratuity.

Item No.3: Labour Laws for Micro and Small Enterprises.

We agree to the suggestions of MOLE the nodel Ministry. There can not be different set of laws, specially with the demand of rationalization of Labour Laws.

ITEM NO.4: Measures to improve Employment and Employability.

This subject was an item for discussion in 44th ILC. Detailed discussions were held in the Conference Committee on “Employment and Employability”. The workers representatives urged the Government to lift the existing ban on recruitment in Government departments and to develop a national employment policy in line with the national skill development policy. They also demanded recognition of skills of traditional workers through certification. They emphasized that the Government should find ways and means to fulfill vision of having 500 million skilled persons by the year 2022.

  • There was a broad consensus on creation of employment opportunities to offer the matching employment –
  • Stipend of apprentice under Apprentice Act should be enhanced.
  • Skill development should be promoted among the women and differently abled persons.
  • Comprehensive steps be taken to create environment for employment generation and protection.
  • Investment in labour intensive industries should be promoted and incentivized.

We would very much like to know the specific progress made on each and every recommendation of 44th ILO before going ahead for measures proposed to address the issues like low industry participation, shortage of trainers, mismatch between demand and supply of skills, up to date position of Kaushal Vikas Yojana.

 

Harbhajan Singh Sidhu

    General Secretary

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