The Tamil Nadu AITUC Construction Workers’ Union urged the State government to take steps for nominating members for the Tamil Nadu Construction Workers’ Welfare Board and Tamil Nadu Manual Workers’ Welfare Board immediately.

Members have not been nominated to these boards for the past two years and this had hit their functioning. Moreover, consultative committees had not been nominated for both these boards. Because of the absence of members and consultative committees, the problems of the workers could not be raised in these forums, a resolution adopted at the two-day State general body meeting of union which concluded in the city on Thursday.

Another resolution said that certificate from the VAO or tahsildar was insisted upon for construction workers enrolling themselves as members of the board.

This was causing hardship to workers.

The government should do away with this condition and should continue with the old practice.

The presence of the workers was insisted for enrolling, renewing, submission of applications, receiving the identity cards and so on. For this, the workers had to abstain themselves from work. The government should allow the construction workers to represent their issues through the unions.

The meeting said the welfare assistance extended through the welfare boards was very meagre compared to the skyrocketing prices of essential commodities. The quantum of all welfare assistance should be increased — accident death assistance from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh, natural death assistance from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 3 lakh; funeral assistance from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 10,000; maternity assistance from Rs. 6,000 to Rs. 36,000; marriage assistance from Rs. 3,000 for men and Rs. 5,000 to women to Rs. 25,000 for both alike. The educational expenses of the wards of the construction workers should be fully borne by the board.

The meeting said at present only 0.3 per cent of the construction cost was being collected for construction workers welfare fund. Other States collected 1 per cent for the welfare fund. Because of this the board was losing a heavy amount.

As per the central act, the State government should collect 1 per cent welfare fund from all construction activities.

N. Periasamy, former MLA, presided over the general body meeting. K. Ravi, general secretary of the union, R. Balakrishnan, treasurer, and K. Suresh, vice-president, spoke.