by: Mr Subhash Bhatnagar, Coordinator, Nirman Mazoor Panchayat Sangam
A National Campaign Committee on Construction Laborers has recommended the following additions to the BOCW Act to make it truly comprehensive to ensure regulation of employment and working conditions including safety as well as social security to all Building and other Construction Workers including migrant workers:
1. Definition of BOCW to include Stone Quarry and Brick-Kiln workers and the workers transporting construction materials.
2. To ensure Compulsory Registration of BOCW in the Tripartite Board including migrant workers, by making it a condition in all Tenders and Plans; Registration of workers to be through Trade Unions and provision of Smart Card to ensure portability as well as Work book in which the employer has to make entries, disbursement of benefits according to seniority within 1 month of application.
3. Employees’ Compensation Act, Sector 10 B, to be invoked for all fatal and major accidents and employers made to deposit money with Labour Commissioner, which would be transferred to home-state for dependents’ enquiry and disbursal.
4. Standardization of Benefits to be ensured in all States/UTs – Accident Relief to the tune of 5 Lakh for fatal accidents, Monthly Pension (15 days wage based on minimum wage), ESI medical assistance, Maternity Benefit (90 days minimum wage), Education Assistance to children from 1st Std to Highest Standard, Financial Assistance for chronic and occupational diseases, Crèches and Housing to registered workers at construction sites and in residential clusters.
5. Action Plan for Migrant labour families to include Temporary Ration cards, Education in mother tongue, crèches, Health care and Assistance centers in Migrant Labour areas.
6. Grievance Redress Mechanism at the District level to ensure justice for applicants for registration and claims
7. Dispute Resolution mechanism at District level to resolve disputes between employers and workers, etc
OTHER PERTINENT ISSUES
1. Amendment in the ESI Act to be able to implement ESI scheme through Tripartite Welfare Boards.
2. Amendment of Inter State Migrant Workers Act to change the definition to make it applicable to all ISMW irrespective of whether the contractor and workers are registered in home state or not and to include Action Plan for ISMW registration as beneficiaries of the board.
3. Compulsory registration of Construction Workers as beneficiary like compulsory registration of Construction establishment with the liability to register to be on the employers.
4. To ensure that all State/UTs Boards to authorize trade unions to certify the working of 90 days in last one year since the employers and the Labour officials are not willing to issue such certificate. An amendment in the main Act of 1996 is required in this regard.
5. There is very wide discrimination in schemes which are being implemented through tripartite Boards in different State/UTs formed under Sec 22 of the main Act. There is an urgent need to bring uniformity and standardization of schemes and procedure around the whole country. Many crucial schemes such as immediate assistance in case of accident and financial incentive for the education of children are not being implemented in many States/UTs.
6. Within a week from the issue of this circular a Petition to the Parliament will be prepared on the basis of the discussion that took place in the8th July, 2014 meetingofNational Campaign Committee on Construction Labourersand circulated.
APPEAL FOR PARTICIPATION
7. In the meeting it was decided to collect signatures of construction workers all over the country on the Petition containing Demands and observe Demands Day in all the State Capitals on 27th Nov, 2014.
8. In the meeting it was decided that on 3rd/4th Dec, 2014 a Dharna will be organized at the end of which the signed Petitions would be submitted to Prime Minister, Union Labour Minister and to the Petition Committee of Lok Sabha &Rajya Sabha.
9. All the Central Trade Unions and their affiliates are requested to participate and support the National Campaign of Construction Workers to oppose the anti-Worker amendments moved by the government and to support the pro-worker amendments moved by the independent trade unions of Construction Workers.
10. The Boards need to take the help of actuarian science to allot the funds collected so far for providing long term disbursements under different schemes formed under subsections of sections of Sec 22(1) of the main Act.
11. The meeting was informed about the decisions taken at the meeting of the Coordinators of National Platform of Domestic Workers held on 7th July, 2014 to seek the support of Construction Workers Campaign for the Domestic Workers campaign. The meeting was informed that a National Level Public Hearing will be organized at Delhi between 7th- 12th November, 2014 to high light the conditions of work of Domestic Workers and the need of Comprehensive Central legislation. The meeting assured mutual support of the both the campaigns for each other.
Please ensure your support to the above line of action by responding to this circular to: