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					                                                                    17.08.2000
To

The Hon’ble Chairperson and Members
IInd National Commission on Labour
New Delhi.



Memorandum for Eradication of Child Labour
    and Protection of Workers Rights
       Ref : 1. Lr. No. Dl/29342/2000 dated 28.07.2000, 7.08.2000, 8.8.2000.

               2. Our Letter to the Commissioner of Labour, Office of the
                  Commissioner of Labour, Chennai – 600 006 dated
                  07.08.2000.

               3. Lr.No. 41/2000-NCL / Admn. Dt. 28.2.2000 from the Member
                  – Secretary, National Commission on Labour, New Delhi.

       Sub :     IInd National Commission on Labour – Visit to Chennai from
                 17.08.2000 to 19.08.2000 – to have discussions with the
                 Trade Union and Employers Representatives and to take up
                 evidence – Reg.

We understand that the Second National Commission on Labour has been
constituted to hear views from civil society specifically trade unions and
associations of organised and unorganised workers and employers to suggest
measures on rationalisation of existing laws relating to labour in the organised
sector and evolving an Umbrella Legislation for ensuring a minimum level of
protection to the workers in the unorganised sector. Accordingly we are
submitting information, proposals and recommendations to the II nd National
Commission of Labour in three parts. They are as follows:

I.     Need to Eradicate Child Labour and Amend the Child Labour
       (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 to Guarantee Adult
       Employment.

II.    Protecting Workers Rights : Essential for Eradication of Child Labour

III.   Our Main Recommendations to the IInd National Commission on
       Labour:

                                                                               1
                                   Part – I
  Need to Eradicate Child Labour and Amend the Child
    Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 to
             Guarantee Adult Employment

1. Campaign Against Child Labour – CACL has been advocating during the last
   decade for the implementation of Need Based living wages (minimum wages)
   for all workers and the need for a legislation to guarantee social security to
   cover all workers in the unorganised sector. CACL strongly recommends that
   these measures along with strict enforcement of law to prohibit child labour
   (Child Labour Act 1986 to be amended accordingly) will improve family
   income and enable parents who are workers from the unorganised sector to
   send children to school.

2. Child labour is a gross violation of children‟s rights as enshrined in the Indian
   Constitution, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,
   several International Legal Instruments and ILO Conventions. It is based on
   super exploitation and extra economic exploitation. It denies children quality
   education, destroys their health and childhood and makes them vulnerable to
   discrimination and abuse. Children are used not because of poverty but
   because the exploitation of poverty to reap enormous profits by the propertied
   classes and castes is convenient to perpetuate inequalities and injustice.

3. 51 years of Indian Independence and India has the largest number of child
   labourers in the world. It also has the distinction of having the largest number
   of children who never went to school or were pushed out of school. Above
   90% of child labourers are from the Schedule Castes, Schedule Tribes, Most
   Backward Classes and Muslim Communities. The best interests of Children
   inspite of all efforts, are not high on the political or administrative agenda,
   notwithstanding promises in the election manifestos.

4. The visionary thinking of the Supreme Court when it comes to upholding or
   guaranteeing fundamental rights is that rights are not to be seen in isolation of
   each other but as a bundle of rights to fulfil the mandate outlined in the
   Preamble of our Constitution, The Supreme Court has time and again held
   that paramount among rights is the right to life and that right to life includes
   the right to livelihood and the right to live in dignity and security. Denial of
   survival and development, freedom of expression, causing harm, abuse of the
   tender age of children and neglect and exploitation of children in any form is a
   violation of the right to life with dignity and the right of protection against
   exploitation. Besides Article 24 employment of children violates the essence
   of Article 21. This read together with several provisions of UNCRC especially
   Article 32 makes it abundantly clear that child labour is illegalised in India.

                                                                                  2
5. Further, child labour in India is present across all sectors, primary, secondary
   and tertiary. The largest employment of children in the manufacturing sector
   includes the carpet weaving, glass / bangle making, slate manufacture,
   building industry, match and fireworks, gem cutting, textiles, (powerloom &
   handloom) dyeing and bleaching, hosiery, metal industries, tanneries,
   mosquito net making, beedi making, starch manufacture etc. The primary
   sector viz. agriculture and allied sectors accounts for the largest contribution
   of child labour approximated at 60 million children. Children are also found
   employed in the fisheries and plantation sectors. In the tertiary sector,
   children are employed in export businesses, in large numbers in hotel and
   restaurants establishments and automobile servicing / garages. Mechanic
   repair shops account for lakhs of children in employment. In most towns &
   cities it is common to see children employed in merchant- business
   establishments, petty vending and in different kinds of services and informal
   manufacturing units.

6. All the State Governments have misrepresented facts on child labour to the
   Supreme Court. We quote information only from one state, viz., Tamil Nadu
   to show you the gross misinformation to the Supreme Court. As per the
   Supreme Courts directive the Government of Tamil Nadu Survey on Child
   Labour in hazardous and non-hazardous industry in Tamil Nadu concluded
   that there was no child labour in hazardous or in non-hazardous occupations
   in Nagapattinam and Kancheepuram Districts! In the remaining 27 Districts,
   the number of child labourers detected in non-hazardous occupation in urban
   areas was 9,052 and 8,970 Child Labourers were identified in hazardous
   occupations in both urban and rural areas in 20 Districts. Even taking very
   conservative estimates of the 1991 census data (0.58 working children) or
   NSS data (1.1 million child workers) in Tamil Nadu the census done by the
   labour department as per Supreme Court directives is gross
   misrepresentation of facts to the Court. The Government of Tamil Nadu must
   answer why 2.9 million children as per 1991 data are out of school and what
   they are engaged in on a daily basis. This is the real group of children who
   must be working in some form somewhere. This data misrepresentation is
   true of all other child labour endemic states.

   Education is important for the future development of children. Employment
    of children denies the child‟s fundamental right for quality, joyful, free and
    compulsory education upto Std X. Employment of children is a denial of their
    fundamental constitutional right. It makes the implementation of several
    government incentives for children going to schools redundant.

   Child labour in any form is hazardous. Besides denying childhood and
    contributing to premature adulthood it creates very serious health hazards
    among children and stunts their childhood development.

   Child labour denies adults employment, even for women. It keeps adult real
    wages lower than minimum wages divides workers and prevents their
                                                                                 3
    unionisation and bargaining power. Increasing prices leads to worsening
    family incomes and poverty.

   Development policies of the government to fulfill the interests of the process
    of globalization and corporate giants are contributing to the increase in child
    labour. While poverty is a reason for child labour, continuance of child
    labour perpetuates poverty, exploitation and inequalities.

   Children in employment can be easily coerced by their employers; their
    association / unionising prevented and they can be even beaten and
    threatened. They are easily denied their right to participation in decision
    making, collective bargaining, organising strikes and other protest actions.

   The belief that children in employment enhances family income is false.
    Examined on a cost – benefit scale the contribution of children to family
    income from their employment is marginal, when compared to loss of
    education, forced early adulthood, poorer wages for adults and damage to
    children‟s health.

9. Our Main Recommendation to the Commission: Amend Comprehensively the
Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986.

The following immediate amendments are required to the Child Labour (Prohibition and
Regulation) Act 1986.

   The Preamble to the Child Labour Act should detail the rights of children
    enshrined in the UN Convention including the right to education and
    protection against economic exploitation and other Constitutional
    guarantees for the promotion of a statue prohibiting employment of all
    children below 16 years (at the least).

   All forms of child labour are hazardous. Definition of hazardous should not
    be Industry based but child based. The Child Labour Act should in principle
    not make a distinction between hazardous Child Labour and non-hazardous
    labour. All labour of children that exploits poverty, that is exploitative and
    denies childrens education and enjoyment of all their rights and diminishes
    adult employment is hazardous. We need a law that will progressively
    represent this reality.

   A child must be defined as every human being below the age of 18 years.

   Our basic demand remains that all children upto 18 years should not be in
    employment in any form.

   As an interim step, immediately we need a law that prohibits all child labour
    in all forms atleast upto the age of 16 years and a law to guarantee free,
    quality, compulsory education for all children upto Std X. For this, there is
    sufficient sanction in the Constitutional provisions Supreme Court judgments
                                                                                  4
    and UNCRC (Refer Annexure). The UNCRC defines a child as 18 years
    which Government of India has ratified without reservations.

   Within the present framework of the 1986 Child Labour Act, in the prohibited
    occupations and processes, all children below 18 years should be prohibited
    from employment.

   This means that the employment of young persons between 17 - 18 years in
    establishments only must be regulated. The definition of Establishment
    must be expanded.

   There should be no exemption to employment of Children upto 18 years in
    the prohibited sector even in case of agriculture, household based labour
    and employment carried on with the aid of the family.

   An establishment (regulatory) has to be so redefined not to provide
    exemption for employment carried on with the aid of the family, in
    agriculture, household based labour etc. For establishments employing
    young persons (17 – 18 years) a detailed rights protection section should be
    incorporated. Thus definition of Establishment should also have no
    exemption proviso at all and its definition should include agriculture, home
    based production, small scale production in urban and rural areas and all
    employment carried on with the aid of the family. By implication of the
    earlier amendments only regulation, between 17-18 years, can take place in
    an establishment but no exemptions for even those establishments
    employing children between 17 to 18 years. This means that a child
    employed in agriculture / home based industry who is 17 years of age must
    enjoy special protection rights including full adult wages, bonus, leave,
    access to dispute resolution etc.

   A separate Part detailing the rights of children (young persons – 17 to 18
    years) in employment should form part of the Act. This section of children
    have special childhood and development needs and many of them are
    victims of abuse and exploitation. They need special protection. Beside this,
    all rights of adult workers should apply to them. The right to education,
    social security and welfare should be given paramount importance. This
    includes only 4 hours work, provision for education and skills training,
    gaining all rights of adult workers like wages, permanent employee status,
    the right to work etc. More important, children between 17 and 18 years
    must be part of the adult worker adjudication system.

   At the date of the enforcement of this new Act (with amendments) there
    must be an empowering rehabilitation programme for children currently in
    employment. This must differentiate between children who can go back to
    school and those who are of an elder age and need alternative skills training
    education.    This needs more detailing. Measures for rehabilitation /
    reintegration of Child Labourers into the education mainstream, skills
    formation etc., should form part of the Act. There must be a mandatory
                                                                                5
    commitment from the State regarding such matters and also to enact a
    provision guaranteeing that the time when the law is passed. All children
    who have been in employment for a specified period of time as worker (and
    are below 16 years) should be adequately compensated by the state to
    enable them to take steps for their lives after being removed from
    employment.

   The Act must envisage sections that have a preventive strategy. As a first
    step it should have provisions to ensure that all children upto std X have a
    right to free, quality, compulsory education. The Act should ensure a single
    system of education which is totally state funded.         Thus a separate
    provision needs to be incorporated guaranteeing the right to education for all
    children upto Std X (atleast). Any employer employing children must be
    liable also for the denial of this right to children.

   The onus of proof regarding proof of age of the child should be shifted on
    the occupier similar to the Factories Act. It should be mandatory for all
    occupiers to have a birth certificate obtained either from the school the local
    – government or the Registrar Births and Deaths and maintain registers with
    regard to young persons between 17 – 18 years in the regulated Sector.

   Within the law for prohibition itself the law has become difficult to implement
    because of three reasons–requiring an appropriate medical practitioner to
    give an age certificate, exempting children who are working with the aid of
    the family and dependence on the factory inspectors and labour inspectors
    alone to initiate prosecution proceedings. All these three sections need
    urgent amendment.

   In this context we propose that the need for a medical authority to certify age
    should be stopped as this certificate can be obtained from a school, local –
    government institution or Registrar, Births and Deaths. The certificate
    required from the medical authority has led to non-enforcement, mechanical
    decisions by the magistrates and corruption and defeat of the enforcement
    mechanism of the Act. Many children, when the factory inspector
    investigates have been found to be far below 14 years of age but are given
    certificates of 15 years and 16 years.

   Penalties must be made more stringent. Mandatory imprisonment of seven
    years for all occupiers convicted of employing a child below 16 years (18
    years in prohibited sector). In addition to this (not or) Rupees 1,00,000/- fine
    to be paid by the occupier. On first conviction itself the establishment /
    workshop in which prohibited processes and occupations are being carried
    out should be sealed and properties confiscated by the state and amount
    placed in the court for the benefit of the child labourer and family. For the
    second conviction it shall be another seven years rigorous imprisonment
    and an additional fine of Rs. 50,000/-.


                                                                                  6
   Besides this the employer convicted for employment of children below 16 /
    18 years should mandatorily pay a compensation of Rs.2 lakhs to the child /
    child‟s family who was in employment. The employers shall mandatorily
    employ one of the parents or the next of kin (adult).

   All Inspectors and senior officers of the Department of Labour, Labour
    Commissioners office, Factory Inspectorate must be made liable for non-
    enforcement, including prosecution, penalties and attachment of properties
    for compensation if found guilty. This applies to all other officers of other
    departments who are designated as Inspectors. The doctrine of immunity
    and good faith will not apply.

   The process of witnesses to be simplified to be in the best interests of the
    child and to achieve quick convictions of the employers. What is crucial is
    to understand that the process of evidence must be reviewed in the light of
    the fact that this involves children also. We need to redefine the process of
    adjudication to make it simple, to allow for the participation and opinion of
    children, for the role of counsellors and social workers to assist them in a
    court process etc. This processes must be in the best interests of the child
    and enable the quick prosecution and gaining conviction of erring
    employers. This takes us to the issue of either sensitisation of the
    magistrates or having special magistrates for protection of child rights. The
    same magistrate dealing with hundreds of adults cases will not be in the
    best position to be sensitive to the special needs of children.

   Piece rate system should be abolished.

   The definition of occupier must be more clearly defined to ensure that the
    principle employer is liable.

   This Act shall immediately come into force in all districts / taluks of all states
    and for all occupations and processes and establishments (all employers of
    child labour) including agriculture & allied sectors, with the aid of the family
    only and all small scale sectors. It shall not be left to the state government
    to notify as and when required.

   Constitution of a Statutory (Independent) Central Advisory / Monitoring
    Board with powers and functions similar to the NHRC & NCW but involving a
    wide cross section of citizens forums and social organisations.

   Constitution of a Statutory (Independent) State Advisory / Monitoring Board
    with similar powers and functions of the NHRC and NCW but involving a
    wide cross section of citizens forums and social organisations.

   Local Government institutions should be empowered under this law to take
    steps for the ensuring of quality education in schools and eradication of child
    labour. Village Panchayat Presidents can be entrusted with powers of a
    factory inspector / labour inspector.
                                                                                  7
    The Factories Act and all other labour laws related to prohibition of child
     labour should be amended to ensure that at the least no child below 16
     years is permitted to work. This implies that the definition of young persons
     (17-18 years) detailed in the Factories Act and wherever necessary in other
     labour legislation should be reviewed.

With regard to more effective enforcement the following amendments are suggested.

   Setting up of a Joint-Task force with statutory powers at district level
    consisting of eminent Citizens, representatives of teachers associations,
    ngo‟s, social workers and trade unions, science forums, representatives of
    local government officials of the labour department, education department,
    district administration and others to monitor the effective enforcement of the
    Act and stopping the employment of children.

   Panchayats / municipalities should be empowered to ensure enforcement
    powers for the elimination of child labour under the Child Labour Act.

   Mobile investigation and prosecution teams made up of Factory Inspectors,
    officials of other departments and members of public orgaisations and ngo‟s
    should be constituted. Mobile courts with powers to award penalties to the
    occupier and collect spot fines should be constituted. This is important on a
    daily basis to enforce the Supreme Court directives. Also trade union
    leaders, representatives of teachers associations and ngo‟s should be
    conferred some of the powers of the factory / labour / inspector. Trade
    Unions, Teachers Associations and ngo‟s to be empowered to carry out
    inspections and call for records.

   A report by ngo‟s and / or trade unions to the labour / factory inspector on the
    specific prevalence of Child Labour in a specific area / sector unit should be
    legally binding on the labour / factory Inspector to initiate prosecution
    proceedings against the violator.

   Other dimensions of enforcement with powers of seizure of vehicles bussing
    children (including tempos, vans etc.) seizure of plants and machinery,
    cancellation of licence for functioning etc., should be incorporated into the
    Act. On conviction the establishment / prohibited occupation and process
    should be sealed, sold and the proceeds given to the victims family.

   Once a conviction is given for employment of children below 16 years it
    should be made mandatory for the occupier within a limited time period to
    prove that he is not employing any child labour. Failing which it should be
    presumed that the occupier / employer continues to employ child labour.




                                                                                    8
                                  Part – II
 Protecting Worker Rights : Essential for Eradication of
                     Child Labour
1. Macro Economic Policies pursued by successive governments since the
   1980‟s have resulted in decreasing employment in the organised sector
   (public and private) casualisation of labour, disinvestment of the public sector
   leading to wide scale retrenchment of workers and consistent drop in the per
   capita real wages even in the sectors of the organised labour force. Besides
   this push in the manufacturing sector even the tertiary sector public sector
   services like banks, insurance services, travel, transport, etc., have gradually
   been opened up to international finance capital resulting in large scale
   retrenchment and the actual dismantling of these sectors.

2. Further there has been a growing emphasis by the government – union and
   state and chambers of commerce to attack the most important labour
   standard in India (atleast in the organised sector) viz permanency of
   employment. The trend today is to dissolve this right to permanency of
   employment and reconstruct that by industry and commerce as a right to hire
   and fire i.e. the right to treat all workers only as contract workers. Together
   with this is the Union Governments efforts to dismantle the Trade Union Act
   and the Industrial Disputes Act. We consider this as a gross violation of
   workers human rights and will lead to casualisation and increasing poverty of
   millions of workers forcing them to sent their children for employment.

3. The conditions of the unorganised workforce is worsening everyday due to
   process of Globalisation of the market. For decades the struggle of 85% of
   the workforce including agricultural labour for a protective legislation and
   comprehensive social security package has never been fulfilled by State and
   Central Governments. With the proposed dismantling of legislative protection
   for organised sector workers the proposal for a umbrella legislation ensuring a
   minimum level of protection to the workers in the unorganised sector, a
   package linking workers protection for working conditions and a parallel social
   security package comes across as an unnecessary exercise by the II nd
   National Commission.

4. It is the failure of the state to recognise the rights of the unorganised workers
   that encouraged employers to exploit their poverty with impunity. This
   exploitation of poverty has resulted in employers preferring the employment of
   children in hundreds of processes, occupations and establishments.

5. Children toil for less than 1/3 of adult wages working 10 to 12 hours a day in
   the most deplorable working conditions. Denied education and childhood
   children are victims of serious diseases due to the hazardous and strenuous
   nature of work. Employment of 100 million children in India means non-
   employment of 100 million adult workers and denial of an adequate education
                                                                                9
   for 100 million children. The II nd National Commission must take cognizance
   of this reality and recommend urgent measures for the total eradication of
   child labour upto the school completion age of 16 years in all processes,
   occupations and establishments with no exemptions at all. This is essential if
   the commission proposes to recommend a minimum umbrella package for
   unorganised workers. Central to the proposals must to legislative protection
   and administrative action for regularisation of employment and steps to be
   taken for ensuring permanency of employment for all unorganised sector
   workers. The nexus between decision makers in Government and employers
   to continue casulisation of work must be stopped.

6. Secondly several unorganised sectors are not covered by protective
   legislation or welfare boards. Legislations like the Manual Workers Act in
   Tamil Nadu has never been worked by the government excepting setting up
   of Boards with one or two schemes for a few sectors of unorganised labour.
   The truth is that for 85% labour in this country 53 years after independence
   there is no legal framework that defines the employer, employee relationship,
   guarantees permanency of employment, provides for labour standards in
   terms of working conditions or ensures payment of minimum wages together
   with a dispute resolution mechanism. This should be one of the steps by the
   commission to guarantee through law such rights.

   We remain opposed to the lack of conscious effort by the II National
   Commission to involve and take decisions jointly with the Central Trade
   Unions and Joint Action Committees of Trade Unions. The composition of the
   Commission is unrepresentative and the process partisan. This in the context
   of the governments not acting on jointly agreed demands of Trade Unions
   over the last decade makes us apprehensive about the relevance and
   purpose of this Commission.       The task for democracy is to strengthen
   workers rights and not dismantle it. Any such process is violative of the
   Constitution and numerous Supreme Court Orders. We are constrained to
   say this but we understand that the Second National Commission on Labour,
   has been directed to take into account, inter-alia, the “follow up implications of
   the recommendations made by the commission set up in May 1998 for review
   of various administrative laws governing industry.” The 1998 Commission
   recommendations in so far as they relate to labour laws are as follows:

      “Out of the large number of labour laws administered by the Central Government,
      the commission has confined its observations to the important provisions of the
      Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, Factories Act,
      1948,Employees Provident Fund Act, 1952, Employees State Insurance Act,
      1948, Trade Unions Act, 1926 and the Contract Labour (Regulation and
      Abolition) Act, 1970. It was noted that the Mitra Committee set up by the Ministry
      of Labour in October 1997 has made a number of concrete suggestions for
      amendments to the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The commission endorses the
      recommendations made by this committee, and also agrees that the title of the
      Act should be amended as the Employment Relations Act, in order to shift the
      focus from disputes to measures for harmonious relations. Some of the
      important issues to be decided urgently in the context of amendments to this Act
                                                                                     10
      would be the concept of lock-outs and strikes, the definition of industry and
      workman, the establishment of grievance redressal machinery, and prior
      approval by Government for lay-off, retrenchment and closure. It is necessary to
      move forward on the basis of negotiating councils as collective bargaining agents
      and discourage avoidable multiplicity of trade unions. At the Government level, it
      would be useful to set up independent and autonomous Industrial Relations
      Commission in order to relieve the executive from the work load for conciliation
      and arbitration of labour disputes. The legal norms for the notice for strikes and
      lock outs, exemption of essential services, requirement of majority resolution of
      unions, etc should be agreed to quickly with employers and labour for enactment.
      Effort should be to reduce the reference of disputes to labour courts and
      tribunals, given the huge pendency of cases and inadequate infrastructure, and
      to promote arbitration and conciliation. It is also possible to lay down norms for
      the registration of trade unions and their recognition and reduce the proportion of
      external office bearers in unions.

7. Even the process of fixation of Minimum wages is now sought to be scuttled
   to ensure what is termed as National Floor level wages which minimum as
   stated as Rs. 35/- now raised to 40/- by the NDA Government. This is in
   violation of the norms already fixed by the 15th ILC of 1957 and further
   reinforced by the Supreme Court in Raptakas Bref Case. It was clearly stated
   in the 1996 ILC that the norms agreed upon in the 15 th ILC was to be followed
   by all State Governments. Unfortunately this was not being followed by State
   Governments. For instance the present minimum wages notified in Tamil
   Nadu and most of the other State Governments were only about 60% of the
   Poverty line wages. Trade Unions have demanded that the Minimum Wages
   Act and the notifications issued there under be included in the Ninth Schedule
   of the Constitution. The demand by the workers movement is to go beyond
   Poverty line wages to a Need Based Minimum Wages to the entire working
   class.

   Parallelly the demand that Minimum Wages Act should be amended to do
   away with „scheduled employments‟ and to proceed to introduce and fix
   Minimum wages for unskilled, semi – skilled, skilled, highly skilled jobs to be
   generally applied to all employments should be given serious consideration
   and examined indetail.

8. Probably the most dangerous move in the interests of workers is to dismantle
   the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act and draft a new
   legislation on contract labour which task was assigned by the Union Cabinet
   to a Group of Ministers headed by Mr. K.C. Paut, Deputy Chairman, Planning
   Commission proposing to bestow an employer with the liberty to engage
   contract labour in permanent jobs in violation of the Supreme Court Order
   which held that “no contract labour should be employed in permanent jobs”.

   This process clearly indicates the intention of the NDA Government. The
   working class must be stripped of their rights–the employers must have the
   right to hire and fire and the best way to do this is employ contract labour and
   do away with permanent labour. The struggle of the working class to make

                                                                                      11
permanent contract workers working on permanent jobs is sought to be felt is
covered by this Act of the Union Cabinet. What then, we ask is the credibility
or relevance of the II National Commission on Labour when parallelly the
Union Government has taken steps to dismantle workers rights. If this is so
can it be that the only rationale for the II National Commission was to
legitimise the various anti-worker decisions by the NDA – BJP led Union
Cabinet? This move together with efforts to dismantle the Trade Union Act
and the Industrial Disputes Act will result in casualisation of the workforce
even in the organised sector and result in lower wages and increasing poverty
for millions of workers.

The details for dismantling the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act
was set out by 1998 Commission which inter-alia forms the basis for the II
National Commission headed by Ravindra Verma are as follows :

   “There is considerable demand from both public and private establishments and
   Central Government Departments for amending the existing provisions of the
   Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act 1970. The commission was
   informed that the matter has been considered in detail by the Committee of
   Secretaries and the Labour Ministry has been requested to draft proposals for
   amendments to the Act in a short time and take up formulation of a separate
   legislation as part of the overall exercise for reforming labour laws. The
   Commission would urge the Labour Ministry to bring forward these amendments
   as soon as possible in order to reduce or relax the present legal regime for
   engagement of contract labour in all the non-core peripheral activities of various
   departments and establishments. The engagement of contract labour even in
   routine services like sweeping, cleaning, security in Government departments
   and public sector organisations have been banned by a notification issued by the
   Labour Ministry, and public sector undertakings are obliged to engage
   departmental labour for tasks that are not part of their main functions. Because
   of the Supreme Court judgement in the Air India case, the Central agencies are
   required to absorb the contract labour after termination of the contract at
   considerable expense. Given the rate at which some activities will become
   obsolete because of changes in technologies, or where activities are of a
   seasonal and temporary nature, there is even greater need for permitting the
   engagement of contract labour. It should, of course, be ensured by the principal
   employer that the contractor complies with the requirements of payment of
   minimum wage, assuring proper working conditions, etc.”




                                                                                  12
                               Part – III
     Our Main Recommendations to the IInd National
                Commission on Labour:
1. Comprehensively amend the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation)
   Act 1986 to ensure that all children upto 16 years are prohibited from
   employment in all processes, occupations and establishments. All
   children upto 18 years should be prohibited from employment in the
   most hazardous occupations and processes as suggested by the
   Government of India recently.

2. Recommend to the Government of India to enact immediately a
   legislation to guarantee free, quality and compulsory education for all
   children upto +2 level all over the country. This should include all
   private educational institutions, whether aided by the government or
   non-aided.

3. Enact protective legislations for different sectors of unorganised
   workers especially, agricultural workers. The legislation must detail
   the rights of workers with regard to employer - employee relationship,
   working conditions, need based minimum wages, dispute resolution
   mechanism, etc.

4. All sections of the unorganised workforce must be guaranteed a
   comprehensive social security package including the right to bonus,
   gratuity, provident fund, pension, medical allowance, facility for loans,
   accident compensation, etc.

5. Need based living wages (minimum wages) should be guaranteed as a
   right for all workers. The revision of this need based living wages
   (minimum wages) should be done every two years. The Minimum
   Wages Act together with related rules and notifications should be
   included in the Constitution IXth Schedule.

6. The right to work must be made a fundamental right in the Indian
   Constitution. The Government must guarantee all employees
   employment through a comprehensive programme of employment
   guarantee.

7. The 1998 Commissions Proposal to dramatically modify the Industrial
   Disputes Act 1947 and create only an Employment Relations Act must
   be withdrawn and not acted upon by the IInd Labour Commission. We
   state that the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 must be preserved in its
   present status with no amendments.
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8. The decision by the Union Government to prohibit strikes, for a
   beginning in Export Promotion Zones must be withdrawn as it violates
   the basic Constitutional right under Article 19 of the right to associate
   and several Supreme Court Decisions guaranteeing the right to strike.

9. All efforts by the Union Government to amend the Trade Union Act
   should be withdrawn. We recommend that the Trade Union Act should
   be preserved in its present form and what ever changes required
   should only come as decisions from the Joint Action Committee of
   Central Trade Unions.

10. The move by the Union Cabinet through Committee of Ministers to
   redraft the Contract Labour Act so as to bestow employers with the
   liberty to engage Contract Labour must be withdrawn as it is violative
   of Supreme Court Orders and will result in the working class loosing all
   their rights and lead to severe casualisation of workers.           We
   recommend instead that the Contract Labour Act should be
   strengthened ensuring job security, living wages and social security for
   all contract workers.




S.Thomas Jayaraj                                  Virgil D Sami
Convenor                                          Member
Campaign Against Child Labour-T.N.                WorkingCommittee-CACL-TN
                                                  Director, Arunodhaya




Fr. Jesu                                          Dr.S.S.Rajagopalan
Member                                            Educational Consultant
Working Committee – CACL-T.N.
Director, Nesakkaram




V.Susai Raj                                       Ossie Fernandes
Convenor                                          Member Working Committee
T.N. NGO – Forum for                              CACL – T.N.
Street and Working Children




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