TUs describe Unorganised Sector bill as 'unacceptable'

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New Delhi, Sep 13 (UNI) The Left-oriented Central trade unions today came down heavily on the government for introducing a Bill in Rajya Sabha on unorganised sector describing it as 'unacceptable' as it falls too short of requirements of over 370 million work force.

Terming the bill as ''synthetic and mere tokenism'', the Sponsoring Committee of the Trade Unions (TUs) demanded the Bill should be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour without any further delay.

Speaking on behalf of the Committee, representing CITU, AITUC, HMS and others, veteran TU leader Gurudas Dasgupta told UNI that this was not the Bill they had worked and fought for.

The Committeee deplored that the draft Bill, introduced on the last day of the Monsoon Session of Parlimanet, which was adjourned sine die on September 10, did not contain any provision for the central funds.

The Bill provides for constitution of national and state level Social Security Advisory Board to recommend suitable welfare schemes for different sections of unorganised sector workers, relating to life and disability cover, health and maternity benefits, old age pension and other benefits.

Workers in the unorganised sector shall be eligible for identity card-cum-portable smart card entailing social security benefits once they get duly registered.

CITU president M K Pandhe said they would observe an All India Demands Day on October 31 to invite the government's attention to the flaws and shortcomings of the Bill.

''In consultation with other TUs, we will chalk out an action programme,'' he added.

Mr Dasgupta said the Bill contained no monitoring mechanism.

''It is an act of tokenism for country's 93 per cent work force in the unorganised sector,'' he maintained.

CITU general secretary P K Ganguly asserted that the government introduced the Unorganised Sector Workers Social Security Bill, 2007 in Rajya Sabha on September 10 when the Monsoon session of Parliament was adjourned sine die.

The draft Bill ignored the suggestions of the TUs, he said adding ''We have been fighting for incorporating four important things in the Bill -- need based minimum wages as per the norms set by the Indian Labour Confernce, employment security, all social security means and applications of labour laws.'' CITU, for the first time in the history of TUs in the country, organised a nationwide strike in the unorganised sector on August 8 to further press for acceptance of the workers' demands.

AITUC national secretary D L Sachdev regretted that the government chose not to take into account the demands of the TUs, which held several meetings with the government representatives including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes.

The TU leaders said during their meeting with Mr Fernandes here on August 8, they demanded that the government prepare the draft Bill, based on the latest recommendations of the Arjun Sengupta Commission, which favoured two separate legislations -- one for the agricultural workers and the second for other sections of the unorganised sector.

Mr Dasgupta said the TUs also urged the Minister to hold meeting with their representatives before rushing through the Bill in Parliament. ''But it went ahead to intoduce the draft bill cleared by the Union Cabinet only,'' he asserted.

Mr Dasgupta said the Bill was just a showpiece to enable the government to make a campaign to 'hoodwink the masses'.

''It also ignored the recommendations of the Unorganised Sector Enterprises Commission,'' he added.

UNI

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