Shri Narendra Modi
Prime Minister of India
Subject: Ensure Labour Rights and Stop Social Exclusion
Dear Prime Minister,
We are the member organisations of National Confederation of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR) writing this letter to bring to your attention the situation of labour, which has gone worse in India in the recent years.
The recent labour and economic policies of government have brought more hardships on the workers by withdrawing their established democratic rights and giving endless concession to industrialists making them unaccountable to the spirit of our constitution. The present system of governance has made labourer and working class vulnerable and become insensitive to our agony and sufferings, though the wealth of the nation was built on the theft of their land and from their work in the farms, mines, factories, kitchens and laundries of the rich. We cannot and will not continue to suffer the way that we do. We cannot and will not allow their voices to be stifled. The time has come for the working class to be heard. The time for politicians to talk for and about labour while they make deals with the capitalists is over. The time has come for politicians to talk to the labourer and to talk to the working class openly and honestly and respectfully so that we can, together, ensure that there is a place for everyone in this society and in this state.
On the occasion of International Labour Day, we demand your government to intervene to take the following actions for ensuring the rights and dignity of working class in India.
1. Contract labour and casual labour system should be abolished.
2. Defend and secure all democratic rights of the workers i.e – a) freedom of association, b) freedom of assembly, c) freedom of expression, d) right to strike, e) right to work, f) right to social security, etc.
3. Minimum wage should be raised to a decent living wage, e.g Rs 15000/- per month in industrial areas.
4. The labour department should ensure that every work site has an organization of the workers and that the labour laws are strictly implemented.
5. The central government must allocate and strictly ensure 5% GDP for the welfare of around 50 crores of unorganized and informal workers of the country.
6. Secure ownership of means of production/service for the workers like making rickshaw-pullers owner of their rickshaw, and similar programmes to eliminate the dichotomy between labour and ownership of means of production/service at one stroke.
7. Accountability should be fixed for labour department to reach out to all the unorganized sector workers for the social security schemes.
8. The government must ensure the rights to vote of migrant workers in their living areas. Interstate migration laws should be implemented for facilities to the migrant workers. Labour call centres and migrant workers support centres should be established.
9. Massive skill development programme under the National Skill Development Mission and other schemes to cover all rural SCs and STs who cannot be given land in spite of best efforts. Other rural labourers, sanitation labourers and urban unorganized labourers and others in traditional occupation to equip them to achieve occupational diversification; upward mobility and secure jobs in the market on employment or self employment basis.
We request you to consider these matters as most urgent and take appropriate action to protect the workers and labourer from the oppressive dominant socio-economic system. Any actions on these demands would promote justice, equity and protect rights of labourer.
Thank you for considering our recommendations and demands. We would appreciate learning about any steps that you take in this regard.