NEW DELHI, Several groups under the banner of Working People’s Charter (WPC) have slammed the government for betraying the informal sector workers saying that the government has been non-committal on wages and social security for 92 per cent of India’s working class. The groups expressed solidarity with all the trade unions who called a nation-wide strike on Wednesday.
“Ninety-two per cent of the working class are informal workers (82.43 per cent unorganised and 9.43 per cent organised). Of them only 11 per cent are on regular wages,” said a release issued by the groups.
The groups presented a charter of demands, including a minimum of Rs. 15,000 as monthly floor wages with provision of indexation and to make it statutorily binding. The groups have also sought at least Rs. 3,000 as pension for the entire working population.
Activists have asked for universal implementation of the minimum wages Act. Swami Agnivesh, chairperson of Bandhua Mukti Morcha said, “The absence of a national-level minimum wage commission for the entire informal sector has reduced their status to modern day slavery.”
Ashim Roy, vice-president of New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), said that variation in the minimum wages across the States is so wide that it puts a question on the approach for fixation of the minimum wages and existing inequalities.
“Delhi has an estimated six-seven lakh women working as domestic workers. They are crucial to a city’s economy and existence, but when it comes to paying them decent wages and ensuring their job security, we see no action on the ground,” said Anita Juneja, member of Trade Union Coordination Committee. Among the other demands were 300 days of work in a year and steps towards ensuring pay parity.
Meanwhile, responding to the strike called by the transport unions against the Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2015, Coalition for Road Safety (COLORS ), a group of NGOs dealing with road safety, and affected families from across India, has appealed to the government not to bow down before narrow interests of certain stakeholders and compromise on the safety of road users.
Komal Kamra, director (development), The Spinal Foundation, and a wheelchair user for life, said, “My entire family was killed in a road accident. The truck owners cannot get my family back. I earnestly appeal to them not to politicise an issue as important as road safety.”
“Ninety-two per cent of the working class are informal workers. Of them 11 per cent
are on regular wages”