Trade unions and organisations representing labourers on Friday made a fervent plea for bringing about “structural changes” in the labour sector in the Capital in order to protect the interests of the working class, especially in the unorganised and construction segments.
They also laid emphasis on strict compliance with the labour laws.
Representatives of trade unions, who attended a Jan Sunwai programme addressed by Delhi Labour Minister Gopal Rai, said the newly elected Aam Aadmi Party government must accord the highest priority to labour welfare, as the working class’ support had played a crucial role in the party coming to power with an absolute majority.
A cross section of trade unions, such as Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, AITUC, INTUC and Delhi Labour Union, took part in the two-hour-long interactive session at Shah Auditorium in Civil Lines here primarily aimed at providing a platform to labour representatives to air their grievances and finding ways to resolve them.
A serious concern was raised during the programme over the recent amendments made by the Union Government in the labour laws, which the participants felt had benefited big industrial houses and the corporate sector rather than securing the interests of labourers. Nagendra Pal Singh of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh said the labourers’ groups would oppose the changes in legislation at all available forums.
Amjad Hassan of INTUC said the staff strength in Delhi Government’s Labour Department had decreased over the years, making it difficult for the department to keep track of labour welfare activities. Pramod Kumar Rajput of AITUC said the workers’ cases under the Industrial Disputes Act were being consistently rejected and minimum wages were being denied, while licences for permanent works were being issued in violation of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act.
Responding to the issues raised by the participants, Mr. Rai said his department would shortly form a Minimum Wages Committee for welfare of labourers and prepare a base for payment of wages to all workers as per the minimum notified rates.
Mr. Rai noted that the workers hired through contractors were not being paid minimum rates of wages even though the contractors get full wages from the principal employers.