Kerala will frame a Bill for the protection of domestic workers’ rights, the first such policy by a State in the country, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said.
He was speaking after inaugurating the International Labour Conclave organised by the Labour department and the State Planning Board to mark the 100th anniversary of cooperation between the State and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) here on Wednesday.
He said that since 1957, when the first State government came to power, a rights-based strategy had been implemented to accommodate the requirements of workers in the formal and informal sectors.
“Kerala has one of the best records with respect to workers’ rights in the global south. The State is being exceptional in protecting and advancing workers’ rights at a time when workers’ rights are waning worldwide. In terms of providing decent employment; forming unions, workers’ cooperatives, welfare boards and pension schemes; and ensuring inclusivity and the protection of migrant workers’ rights, Kerala has evolved as a role model. We comply with the main principles of the ILO, including the tripartite structure, in which the government, employers, and employees meet to resolve disputes,” he said.
Also read:Kerala to frame policy to govern gig economy to ensure fair wages, better working conditions
Regarding the four new labour codes proposed by the Union government, he said that draft rules appropriate for Kerala had already been prepared for discussion in the State Legislature. He said that workers’ rights were part of Kerala’s public discourse and ensuring them was part of the State’s legacy. The government would continue to uphold them, he said.
Labour Minister V. Sivankutty, who presided over the function, said that Kerala was at the forefront of workers’ rights by ensuring minimum wages in 84 sectors. The minimum wage in the State was twice the national average as per the RBI report. He said that the government would consider ideas and suggestions from the conclave in framing schemes and policies to benefit workers.
South Korean Education Minister Lee Ju-ho, in a recorded message, said that Kerala had played a pivotal role in guaranteeing workers’ rights. He said that the changes that would be caused by digital transformation and its impact on the labour market had to be studied to protect workers from adverse effects.
Bihar Labour Minister Surendra Ram, who spoke about his transformation from a labourer to a Labour Minister, said that the Union government should share eShram data from the Labour Ministry with all the State governments so that policies could be framed for workers using the data.
Telangana Labour Minister Chamakura Malla Reddy said that the Union government, with a lot of funds at its disposal, was not spending enough for the workers. He said that workers in the Telangana region used to travel to other States in large numbers in search of jobs before the State formation nine years ago. However, now the State had transformed so much that 25 lakh workers from 15 States were working in Telangana.
Satoshi Sasaki, Officer in Charge/Deputy Director of the ILO, said that the ILO and Kerala, which had a long history of associating together, collaborated in the post-disaster recovery and rebuilding efforts after the 2018 floods.
Elamaram Kareem, MP; State Planning Board Vice Chairman V.K. Ramachandran; and Labour Secretary K. Vasuki spoke.