The frenetic urban growth in Bangalore makes the city “the obvious destination” for unskilled migrant construction workers. But being unregulated and lacking the advantage of collective bargaining by trade unions, this workforce is doubly-disenfranchised, as they are rarely allowed to benefit from the legal provisions framed for them, says Supriya RoyChowdhury, Professor, Centre for Political Institutions, Governance and Development, at the Institute for Social and Economic Change.
“For instance, while every building worker registered with the Karnataka Building and other Construction Workers Welfare Board is entitled to several financial benefits (including minimum wages, accident insurance and compensation to the family of a worker killed on site) there are factors that prevent construction workers from benefiting from them,” she said.
“To begin with, only a fraction of construction workers are registered with the board by their employers and few are aware of the benefits they are eligible for,” Prof. RoyChowdhury explains. The benefits include a Rs. 1 lakh ‘accident benefit’ to the family of a worker killed or left disabled by an accident on site; housing loans, financial assistance for childbirth and education of children. Beneficiaries of the board are also eligible to a pension.