Justice to Workers and Toiling Masses of India
Justice to Workers and Toiling Masses of India
Why this petition matters
1) The Hon’ble Chief Justice of India,
2) The Hon’ble Chief Justice of High Court of Bombay at Goa,
3) The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India,
4) The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Goa,
5) The Hon’ble Labour Minister of Goa,
6) The Respected Commissioner of Labour, Central & State,
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject : Petition on behalf of working people of India.
We respectfully place on records the following few facts which reflects the gross discrimination against the honest and hard working people of India, prior to and particularly during the compulsory national lockdown imposed by the GOI and its administration, on account of COVID – 19 pandemic. It has been so glaring and conspicuous that the governments, central as well as states, are laying carpets for the corporates and so called investors at the expense and sacrifice of working people of India which has reflected in the much publicised 20 lakh crores package announced by the GOI.
The most fundamental point that has to be noted is that the working people are the real producers of wealth while the capitalists (corporate capital or MSMEs) are just owners of the means of production. In fact all the machinery, technology and the industrial raw materials which constitute the means of production, are also produced by the workers’ ‘labouring power’, which includes sweated labour, physical and intellectual labour, maybe it is the past labour. This fact is also blatantly ignored by the Government and its administration while dealing with employee-employer relations. In the process two basic human rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India i.e. Right to life, and equality before law, are grossly violated by the Governments and its administration.
It is also to be noted that :-
a) The workers are paid wages after he performs his labour for over a month, normally in India. Unless the workers eat nutritious food and have adequate rest he/she cannot recoup the ‘labouring power’ after each day’s labour performed. This fact was blatantly ignored, particularly in respect of migrant workers who live hand to mouth.
It is our general experience that the workers are not paid wages on time, often denied and deprived of need-based minimum wages agreed in Tripartite ILC Conference held in 1957.
Particularly in the period of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation (L.P.G) due to contractualisation, casualisation of work processes with ‘out–sourcing’ and ‘Fixed Term Employment’ etc., workers are denied their basic rights encrypted and codified in various beneficial labour laws passed by the Parliament in India. And this is particularly true during National lockdown period having devastating impact on mass of working people.
b) Every time the GOI has announced relief packages during the economic slow-down or during the lockdown declared by the GOI due to Covid – 19 pandemic situation, the working people have not been treated equally with other stakeholders. First and foremost, GOI had instructed vide Order dated 29th March, 2020 of MHA, all the employers to pay full wages to workers during the lockdown period. However, over – whelming majority of workers, particularly in informal sector of the economy, wherein more than 90% of the workforce perform their labour in Indian economy, are totally denied their wages. Whereas, in the organised sector, the workers wages are blatantly reduced. And the lead was given by the GOI itself vide Extraordinary Order dated 23/04/2020 by freezing D.A. of the government employees and dearness reliefs to Pensioners, as of 01/01/2020 up to July, 2021 and many other benefits would not be available,. In effect reduced their wages impacting demand side of the economy which is so essential to boost the economy at the present stage.
This has resulted in gross discrimination against the working people all over India including our State of Goa.
On behalf of all these workers we place before you few points, issues for your judicious consideration and request for justice in the matter : -
1) The Central Government has clubbed 44 labour laws into four labour codes, in the process diluted the provisions of beneficial labour laws in favour of employers and thereby depriving working people the protection of hard won rights at workplace, job security, and other social security benefits. Now, under the pretext of relief to industries due to COVID – 19 related lockdown, the many State Governments have amended The Factories Act, 1948, permitting increase in working day from 8 hours to 12 hours per day. Besides, many factories have been excluded from the purview of the Factories Act thereby large chunk of workers from MSME’s shall be deprived of the protection of many beneficial labour laws, resulting in un-regulating working hours, paid leave and holidays, PF and ESIC benefits etc., This is violative of Human Rights and provisions of Constitution of India which guarantees decent living condition at the level of social development, (we are suppose to become Super Power with 5 trillion Economy) and violative of Conventions of I.L.O.
2) It is an acknowledged fact that in India the informal sector economy constitutes almost 80%, contributing to almost 50% of the national G.D.P; and employs almost 90% of the workforce. These are known as ‘faceless workers’ of informal sector of economy. Non – implementations and or mal-implementation of five important labour laws have caused huge problems and untold miseries to crores of such workers during this period of national lockdown due to COVID – 19 pandemic. Most of these workers had to migrate to their native place under most pitiable conditions and circumstances. These enactments are as follows : -
i) The Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970.
ii) The Interstate Migrant Workmen ( Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service ) Act,1979
iii) The Building and Construction Workers Act, 1996
iv) National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005
v) Unorganised Sector Workers Social Security Act, 2008
3) The aims and objects of the Employees Provident Fund Act, 1952 was to provide financial security to workers during their old age after retirement. Upteen member of companies have failed to deposit P.F. Amounts, after deducting from the worker’s salary, with EPFO, jeoparding the future of the workers. Secondly, the GOI, under the pretext of Covid – 19 pandemic lockdown, with the ostensible reason of providing relief to workers, has reduced the rate of P.F. deduction from 12 to 10 present which adversely affects the workers. Further, rate of interests have been brought down for year after year, to 6.90% P.A on the accumulated amount with EPFO resulting in total loss of its real purchasing power at the time of retirement. Thirdly, instead of enforcing MHA order dated 29/03/2020 employers to pay wages during COVID – 19 pandemic lockdown period, the workers are simply allowed to withdraw 75 % of their accumulated P.F. to overcome their financial difficulties. Such a step would make the workers financially destitudes and push their family in deep poverty.
4) The GOI has recently announced relaxation to Labour Contractors from doing their business without registration with appropriate Government Authorities if they have less than 50 workers. Such a concession is bound to deprive workers of the protection of beneficial labour laws.
5) Freezing of D.A. for the Government employees w.e.f. 01/01/2020 till 30/06/2021, unilaterally without consultations in JCM forum amounts to high handedness on the part of GOI. In the context of economic slow-down set in the economy the step amounts to anti-development as it deprives large sections of the middle-class consumers their purchasing power impacting demand generation.
6) GOI, vide MHA, North Block issued Order No.40-3/2020-DM-1(A) dated 29/03/2020, clause (iii), specifically directed all the industrial, shops and commercial establishments to pay the wages during the lockdown period. However, overwhelming number of employers have not implemented these directions during the month of March, April, May and June, 2020. Not only the Government directives to pay wages have been treated with scant respect, the employer – class have taken for granted, the support from the Government administration and retrenched workers or laid off workers putting their families during this corona virus pandemic period financial and mental distress. Moreover the landlords also have forced the helpless migrant workers to vacate their houses added to their miseries many fold.
In view of above points and issues, we the undersigned, pray for the following relief :-
To direct Central and State Governments :-
(i) To fully implement the MHA Order No.40-3/2020-DM-1(A) dated 29/03/2020 in respect of payment of full wages of lockdown period to industrial, shops and commercial workers.
(ii) To withdraw the Order No. 1/1/2020 – E – II(B) dated 23/04/2020 of the Finance Ministry freezing D.A. w.e.f.01/01/2020 for Government employees and Dearness Relief for pensioners.
(iii) To issue Smart Id Card to all the workers with their Aadhar card number valid throughout India which should be useful for all types of Industrial and Shops and Commercial establishments.
(iv) To provide a corpus of Rs.1000 crores – a revolving annual FUND for the purpose of implementing Social Security Schemes under the provisions of Un-organised Sector Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008.
(v) To improve EPS-95 Pension Scheme to provide pension at the rate of 50% of Statutory Minimum Wage prevailing in their respective States.
(vi) All retrenchments and lay offs during this lockdown period should be informed to the Government Labour Department
(vii) To revoke and withdraw Amendments to Factories Act, 1948 to maintain the working hours to 8 hours working day instead of 12 hours working day wrongfully enhanced by the amendments.
(viii) To revoke and withdraw Ordinance No. 7 of 2020 published in Official Gazette dated 26/07/2020 of Government of Goa with regards to the Contract Workers ( Regulation & Abolition ) Act, 1970 which seriously prejudices the rights and interest of the contract workers.
We the undersigned, trust you will give serious attention and act upon our Petition.
Dated : 03rd July, 2020.
Place : Panaji – Goa.
Signed by :
1) Com. Christopher Fonseca
All India Trade Union Congress – Goa State.
Mobile No. 9422443958
E-mail Id : email@example.com
2) Com.R.D. Mangueshkar
Goa Trade and Commercial Workers Union.
Reg. No. 29 (Goa) 1964
Mobile No. 8698690793
Email Id : firstname.lastname@example.org
3) Shri Anil Naik,
Goa Mining Labour Welfare Union,
Reg. No. 4 (1963) dated 09/08/1963
Mobile No. 9850451132
4) Com. Prasanna Utagi
Goa Shops & Industrial Workers Union,
Reg. No. 108 dated 09/09/1974
Mobile No. 9422060031
Email Id: email@example.com
5) Com. Suhaas Naik
Krantikari Shramik Sanghathana (KSS),
Reg. No. 418 dated 13/10/2003
Mobile No. 9049928877
Email Id : firstname.lastname@example.org
6) Shri Rajendra A. Verenkar
Goa Fish Processing Workers’ Union,
Reg. No. 185
Mobile No. 9764539979
Email Id: email@example.com
7) Shri Shashikant Gaonkar
KTC Drivers & Allied Employees Association,
Reg. No. GOA – 298 of 1992
Mobile No. 9834364673
8) Shri John Paul Noronha
Goa Shipyard Workers’ Union,
Reg. No. 17 – G dated 17/10/2003
Mobile No. 9422443458
9) Shri Sudeep Pai Naik
Public Works Department Employees Union,
Reg. No. 337 dated 12/09/1995
Mobile No. 9822409155
10) Shri Rajesh Gaonkar
Sanjivani Sakhar Karkhana Workers’Union,
Reg. No. 200 of (1983) dated 23/12/1983
Mobile No. 8669093509
11) Shri Udhav Gaonkar,
Government of India Navigation Employees Union (Goa),
Reg. No. GOA – 11 dated 04/10/1963
Mobile No. 7888280254
12) Shri Bhayyasaheb Shikhare
The Leela Goa Union,
Reg. No. 432 dated 21/06/2005
Mobile No. 9890135995
13) Shri John Clark,
Goa Tourist Taxi Association (GOTTA),
Reg. No. 434 dated 25/07/2005
Mobile No. 7057102403
14) Smt. M. D’mello
EDA’s Postal Employees Union (Goa Division),
Reg. No. GOA / 307 dated 09/06/1992
Mobile No. 9850484735
15) Shri John Clark,
MOHP (MPT) Workers Union,
Reg. No. 297 dated 20/01/1992
Mobile No. 7057102403
16) Shri Carlos Faleiro
Electricity Employees Union (Goa),
Reg. No. 176 dated 13/11/1980
Mobile No. 9011994331
17) Shri Suhas Mandrekar
Govt. Printing & Offset Press Employees Union,
Reg. No. 246
Mobile No. 9421246766