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Unorganised workers demand recognition of labour rights

Unorganised labourers participating in the general body meeting of Rajasthan Asangathit Mazdoor Union at Pali district’s Raipur village.

Unorganised labourers participating in the general body meeting of Rajasthan Asangathit Mazdoor Union at Pali district’s Raipur village.  

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Workers’ union in Rajasthan adopts motto ‘Let there be dignity of labour and decent wages for work’

Unorganised workers from different sectors in Rajasthan, who formed their first-ever union two years ago, have sought recognition of their labour rights for getting minimum wages, social security, monthly ration through public distribution system and implementation of law with the guarantee for 100 days of work in a year to each household.

The Rajasthan Asangathit Mazdoor Union (RAMU) organised its biennial general body meeting at Raipur village in Pali district over the week-end to deliberate on the issues confronting the labourers and devise strategies to enhance their participation in the movements for asserting their rights. The union adopted a motto: Izzat Ho Har Kaam Ki, Mazdoori Ho Shaan Ki (Let there be dignity of labour and decent wages for work).

Two fronts

Formed at Ajmer district’s Jawaja village in 2017, the RAMU was registered by the State government under the Trade Union Act, 1926, in June 2018. The union has established two fronts for rural workers, comprising the labourers of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, and the street vendors.

Addressing the labourers who had arrived from Bhilwara, Rajsamand, Ajmer, Pali and other districts, social activist and Magsaysay Award winner Aruna Roy said the labourers and common people should come together to strengthen the rights which they had gained after prolonged struggles. There should be no scope for denial of minimum wages and minimum days of employment to workers, she said.

Nikhil Dey of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan said the NREGA, adopted after a long-running campaign in Rajasthan, was not just a legislation, but had the potential to bring about “revolutionary changes” if implemented in its true spirit. No compromise could be made on getting minimum wages for work, he added.

Submit a memo

Hundreds of labourers took out a march from Mela Chowk in Raipur to the Panchayat Samiti office and handed over a memorandum to the Development Officer. RAMU members said more fronts would be established shortly to give representation to women domestic workers, porters and daily wage earners.

Former Harmada Sarpanch Norti Bai, who has been in the forefront of the right to information campaign, was chosen the union’s president for the second consecutive term. Babu Lal was elected general secretary and three divisional secretaries were nominated for Ajmer, Jodhpur and Udaipur.

Over 40 representatives of public movements from 15 States attended the meeting. The groups included Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangathan of Gujarat, Sangtin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan of U.P., Jan Jagaran Shakti Sangathan of Bihar and Gondwana Adivasi Sangathan of M.P.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 8:28:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/unorganised-workers-demand-recognition-of-labour-rights/article30126885.ece

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