Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh launched a nationwide agitation against contract labour on July 23, which is also the foundation day of the organisation. The agitation will continue till August 9. Dharnas, demonstrations and rallies are being organised at state capitals and district levels all over the country. National leaders of BMS are addressing the demonstrations and rallies.
All the state units also organised various functions on July 23 to celebrate the foundation day. The Kolkata unit organised a blood donation camp. BMS national general secretary Shri M Lakshma Reddy also attended the camp.
Addressing the demonstrators in Kolkata, Shri Lakshma Reddy demanded amendment in the Contract Labour (RA) Act 1970 to ensure immediate absorption of contract labour on the rolls of principal employer, wherever the job is perennial by the process of spot verification. ?Wherever the job is not perennial, for the period of work and working days, contract workers should be paid wage allowances and other benefits at par with permanent workers. The Contract Labour Act should be made applicable to establishments engaging even one worker by removing the minimum threshold requirement of 20 workers. A specific section be inserted in the Contract Labour (RA) Act to provide for a forum for resolution of disputes between the workers, contractors and the Principal Employers,? he said.
He added that the thinking of central and the state governments had changed drastically since the beginning of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation policies in 1991 and under the dictates of WTO, financial institutions and MNCs. The Governments have started crushing the worker for the ?survival? of industry. The contracts are split up so as to contain less than 20 in each contract, and application of the Act is avoided. The establishments are not registered and the contractors do not take license to engage contract labour. As it is, the Act does not cover home workers and establishments where the number of workers is less than 20. The amounts paid by the principal employers to contractors towards the wage and other benefits to the contract labour are not passed on by the contractors to the contract labour but siphoned off by corrupt practices and shared with the officials of Government and employers. In their greed to make profits, the employers have invented other systems of labour like job/work contract, contract service, and trainee worker outsourcing.
Shri Lakshma pointed out that the Government of India amended Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 and legalised ?fixed term employment?. The formal employment has been converted as informal employment. The Government also imposed ban on recruitment, and ban on creation of new posts from 1985. Instead, of contract labour or such other labour are recruited. Apart from the Government of India and various State Governments with their public sector units, Panchayati Raj institutions are the biggest exploiters in the country. As a result the proportion of such non-standard employment is 50 per cent and 90 per cent in public and private sectors respectively, he added.