Rally to demand laws for construction workers

NEW DELHI, MAY 7. The National Campaign Committee for Central Legislation on Construction Labour (NCC-CL) has planned a rally here on Monday to protest the non-implementation and inadequacies in the acts promulgated by Parliament in 1996.

The idea is to draw the Centre's attention to the exploitation of construction workers in the country and the need for a time-bound implementation of the central acts by the States.

The rally is likely to be addressed by the former Prime Minister, Mr. V. P. Singh, former Supreme Court Judge, Mr. V. R. Krishna Iyer, socialist leader, Mr. Surendra Mohan, and some MPs.

All major Central Trade Unions, including AICCTU, AITUC, BMS, CITU, HMS, HMKP, NAPAM, NCL, NMPS, SEWA, TUCC and UTUC, have extended support to the rally, to be attended by representatives and members of construction workers' unions from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Pondicherry. Community-based and women's organisations have also extended support.

The number of construction workers in the country is estimated at two crores, of which 30 per cent are women and children. While half the Budget and Five-Year Plan outlays are spent on construction, workers in this unorganised sector are unprotected, paid less than the minimum wages and have no social security or welfare measures.According to the NCC-CL coordinator, Mr. Subhash Bhatnagar, ``The laws are insufficient and full of lacunae since the recommendations of the Petitions Committee of the Lok Sabha were ignored.''

Neither do the laws contain the provision for a tripartite Construction Labour Board to regulate employment wages and for supervision of safety nor do they include workers engaged in house-building or those in brick kilns and quarries under legal purview.

Mr. Bhatnagar said that the Cess Act had not been implemented by State Governments despite a lapse of five years and neither had they framed rules under the main acts.