⛪Home⇐ Class Livelihood and Struggles of Urban Worker

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Q) What is the highest Mountain range on the Earth?
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Livelihood and Struggles of Urban Worker
  • Laws are also made to protect the welfare of workers employed in fields, factories, private and government offices.
  • Factories which are properly registered with the government are expected to follow these laws and provide better wages and other facilities required for workers.
  • Governments also have Labour Departments, which have the responsibility to ensure that these laws are followed. However, there are many factories which do not get properly registered with the government.

Urban workers in India
Working as 'Permanent Workers' in Factories
  • A permanent worker cannot be dismissed without a proper procedure and a payment of compensation while other workers can be removed easily.
  • ll workers get wages fixed through agreements with the union and medical facilities through Employees State Insurance (ESI) and Provident Fund (PF).
  • The Trade Union secured other benefits also health checkup in big private hospitals, leave in case the workers become sick, safety-wear in the work place, safe drinking water in the factory, educational allowance for workers? children, conveyance allowance and also leave travel allowance. They also get loans from the company when needed and the company has also provided quarters for them to live in.
  • The Trade Union also made agreements with factory owners to regularize contract labourers after a definite period of work.

Permanent workers
KRS Medicines Factory
  • These days, a large number of companies are adopting policies similar to other companies, reducing the number of regular workers and replacing them with contract and casual workers.
  • This company (not a real name) mixes and packs medicines for another big medicine company. It employed about 118 workers of whom about 104 workers were employed as daily casual workers. That is only 14 workers were regular and permanent and were used for the skilled work of mixing the chemicals to prepare the medicine powder.
  • They were paid about Rs. 1500 to Rs 2500 per month and had a security of employment. They also get ESI and PF.
  • The remaining 104 workers who were engaged on a daily basis mainly did the packaging and labelling of the medicine.

Working on Construction Sites and Brick Kilns
  • The brick makers are given advance by a contractor; they are taken to far off states whose languages they do not know; they work day and night for five to six months with their family and children and earn just enough to clear the advance they had taken.
  • In some cases, even when people are too tired to work, they are forced by the contractor to work.
  • They live like bonded slaves.
  • There are no Trade Unions that fight for their rights as they are migrant workers spread out in a number of sites.

Construction site
Ensuring Worker's Rights A Global Concern

Right to productive and safe employment:
  • so that every worker can work according to his or her skill and capacity and work under safe conditions without endangering their health
Right to leisure and rest:
  • So that they have time to rest from their tiring work and also have time to attend to other cultural and social interests.
Right to employment security:
  • So that every worker knows that he/she has an employment which will ensure her/ him a livelihood and will not be arbitrarily thrown out of work.
  • If it is inevitable for a company to remove a worker, he or she should be paid adequate compensation for the loss of work.
Income security:
  • So that every worker has adequate and regular income to take care of the needs of their families and savings for living a dignified life in their old age.
Work security:
  • So that when they fall ill or meet with an accident, they can get proper care and get paid for the period of illness.
Skill improvement:
  • So that they can improve their skills and capabilities while at work.
Collective voice:
  • So that they can form unions to express their problems and needs without fear and negotiate with the employers as a group rather than as individuals.

Rights of workers in India
Informal Work and Workers in Towns
  • People are rapidly shifting from villages to these towns. But many of them do not get sufficient regular employment there and do a variety of odd jobs.
  • They sell vegetables or other items, make and sell snacks, work in tea stalls, or small factories, stitch clothes, load and unload in markets, work as domestic maids etc.
  • Many of them produce goods at home weaving clothes, papads, pickle, doing embroidery, etc. and are engaged through "puttingout" system. Most of these activities do not get registered with the government. Workers of these kinds can be called informal workers and the nature of such work is called informal work.
  • Unlike "permanent workers" in factories and offices who get employed and paid regularly, these workers do several jobs in a day.
  • When faced with financial problems, they try to cut their expenditure by taking children out of schools or cutting down on food or medicines.
  • Most of them do not have any Trade Unions to defend their rights. Looking at these problems, some trade unionists of Gujarat formed what is considered the largest trade union of the informal workers in the world. About 13 lakh workers in 9 states in India are now members of SEWA.
  • SEWA also runs a bank cooperative for its members and provides health insurance facility. SEWA also helps its members in marketing their produce and ensuring them fair wages.

Informal workers of India
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