The Appeal

Ratification of ILO conventions 87 and 98 The Need of the hour

Dear Friends,

We come to you with an appeal to join hands with us in a new task of national importance which will help improve living and working conditions of all of us. The task before you is to put pressure on the Government of India to ratify ILO conventions 87 and 98.

You might ask—

What are these conventions? Why ratification of these conventions? And Why Now? ILO Convention No. 87 provides for Freedom of Association and Protection of Rightto organize.

ILO Convention No. 98 provides for Right to organize and collective bargaining.Both these Conventions are part of the eight core conventions of ILO. Workers constitute around 38.3% of the total population of the country (46 crores out of1200 crores). If we include their families and their dependents it will cover around 98% of the populations. Thus well being of the workers is the well being of the country as a whole.

Organised workers who are already part of unions have gained better working and living conditions, which can only be attributed to the strength of their associations and unions. Organised unity is possible only when there are no legal and administrative hurdles to the formation of these associations. As of now, there are innumerable difficulties in organising workers, especially those who belong to the informal sector of the economy. Even though informal sector of the economy contributes much more to the growth of our country, this is the section that has over the years been ignored by the policy makers.

At present in India, workers in any sector (be it unorganised workers or white collar employees) lack the political and institutional support to form associations and bargain for their demands collectively. If there is no collective-bargaining, decision making, then many sectors of the economy will stand adversely affected owing to the barriers that get erected between various stakeholders. There will be mistrust and suspicion instead of mutual trust and harmony, which would adversely affect the productivity and efficiency.

If the employees are not part of their own collectivity, then it becomes impossible for the management or the government to gain significant awareness of the demands and concerns of the workforce. A dialogue is impossible without equality and respect at the discussion table. It is precisely this equality and respect that ratifying these conventions can bring to us.

In addition to the plights faced by unorganized workers, equally significant are the difficulties faced by the employees of formal and ‘white collar’ sectors, to organise themselves as an association and to bargain collectively. Here, there are numerous unwritten subtle restrictions that the workers face, whenever they try to unite together as a single coherent voice. The employees who spearhead these calls for unions are usually targeted and harassed.

Because of these stumbling blocks that affect the workers unity, the country’s economic growth will eventually be affected and productivity comes down in every sector.

You might ask—

What can this ratification bring? How can it change the lives of all these workers and improve the economy and increase the productivities all at one go??

Ratifying these conventions will compel the government to enact uniform legislations, which will help us bring the employers and workers to the discussion table. It will give an international legal instrument to make many of the demands like better working conditions, safety, hygiene and availability of medical care in work places- a reality. There will thus be lesser strikes and lockouts, eventually, higher production and productivity. This will also help in creating more jobs in the country and bring more prosperity. There will be better chances of bringing down the rising prices and curtail inflation.

India is the largest democracy in the world. People’s voice is the key strength of democracy and yet, if we continue to ignore the voices of our weakest and poorest, we can never be a true democracy but only a namesake democracy.

Let us remember that these conventions are central to the well being of not only the workers but all of us. The importance of these conventions lie only in the freedom of forming associations and protection of right to organize that it brings, but also in the fact that it is a symbol of our democratic voice.

And if our leaders appreciate our genuine concerns and do ratify these conventions, it will indeed restore all our faith in the million possibilities that a democratic voice can bring to the future....

Join hands with us at Hind Mazdoor Sabha

We hereby solemnly request you to be a part of our campaign through participation in all our meetings and rallies. Your signatures on our campaign letters can add strength to convince the government towards early ratification of these conventions.

Hind Mazdoor Sabha