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India: 2021 Tamil Nadu State Assembly Election – Unorganised Workers’ Manifesto – Demands | Unorganised Workers Federation (March 6, 2021)

20 March

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Unorganised Workers Federation
(gjpT vz; : 3148/CNI)

No.39, Dr. Alagappa Road, Purasawalkkam, Chennai – 600084. Fax: 044-26480414 Email: uwf.tamilnadu[at]

Date: 06.03.2021

2021 TN State Assembly Election – Unorganised Workers’ Manifesto – Demands

1. a) The 4 Central Labour Codes Rights posing threat to the existing Welfare Boards and their functions hence the Central Codes must be ignored and State Law - TN manual Workers Act 1982 must be protected and 18 Welfare Boards ( For Construction – Manual –drivers-Dhobis – Hairdressers – Tailors – Handicrafts – Palm tree climbers – Handlooms – Leather – Artists – Potters – Goldsmiths – Domestic – Powerlooms – street vendors – Cooks – Fireworks =WORKERS functioning under Labor Department as well as 18 other Welfare Boards under other Departments.
b) The state government must push for the repeal of the new Labour Codes passed by the Centre, which tears down protections for Unorganized and Organized Laborers and Trade unions, and threatens to dissolve Construction and Unorganized worker welfare boards.

2. The Central Laws leading to relegation of agriculture and procurement to Companies and leading to hoarding and price rise of agricultural products and acquisition of agricultural lands for companies without environmental assessment must be repealed.

3. Considering that the Central government is reaping profits worth many lakh crores from low crude oil prices and high domestic fuel prices, the state government must demand that they pay Rs. 1000 per worker family per month as COVID-19 relief.

4. 1% GST revenues must be allocated for all welfare boards of unorganized workers in the Labour Department and other departments. 3% of the Union and State Budgets must be allocated for the social security of unorganized workers. The construction workers’ welfare board must be allocated 1-2% of construction levy, 1% of road tax must go to auto workers, and 1% of property tax must be given to domestic workers. Such provisions must be made from levies for all categories of workers.

5. a) Following Kerala’s example, registration in welfare boards, renewal of membership, and disbursement of cash benefits must be implemented through trade unions.
b) Online registration into welfare boards must be enabled without OTP, Caste certificates, or VAO verification and with an Employment certificate from Trade Union and not from VAO or RI.
c) The labourer ID card must be transformed into an individual ID in Agri workers welfare board andall welfare boards must operate under the Labour Department.
d) Cash benefits must be distributed immediately to all those with pending applications.

6. ESI medical benefits, compensation during accidents and sickness, flood relief of Rs. 30,000, accident relief of Rs. 5 lakhs, Rs. 1 lakh for death from natural causes, educational aid for children of workers from Class 1 to higher education, Rs. 25,000 as marriage aid, condition-less pension of Rs. 3000, monsoon relief, homes for those without homes, etc. must be given to all unorganized workers through unorganized workers’ welfare boards.

7. The neo-untouchability practices of evicting slum dwellers from the central city, relocating them to faraway locations, and depriving them of their livelihoods must be stopped. Instead, housing must be provided in-situ or in nearby locations, especially to workers without houses, so that their rights to life, livelihood, and education can be preserved.

8. In accordance with Supreme Court judgement, pavement dwellers in Chennai and other cities such as Parrys Corner, Koyambedu and in other parts must be given shelters, or housing nearby.

9. Housing for homeless workers must be created on the surplus lands seized by the government under the Urban Land Ceiling Act, and vacant lands within the central city.

10. Migrant workers must be compulsorily registered with welfare boards, and given ID cards, food security through the Public Distribution System, childcare, education, health facilities, minimum wages, overtime wages, PF, and ESI medical benefits.

11. Through State-level and District monitoring committees, a survey of bonded labour must be taken every year, and rehabilitation packages including farm land, housing, education for children, aid for employment, etc. must be given

12. An annual survey of child labourers must be undertaken in the state, with provisions being made for their release, complete rehabilitation. Free, compulsory and good quality education must be guaranteed to all children up to the age of 18.

13. Prevention of occupational hazards and diseases, survey and treatment of diseases, rehabilitation, alternate livelihoods, and compensation must be created for all categories of unorganized workers.

14. Occupation-based demands:
a) Construction workers must be give safety belts, suitable masks and gloves and other safety equipment, alongside the creation of rules for prevention of accidents at the workplace, humane working conditions and equal benefits, monsoon relief, and guarantee of 50% employment for all local workers. There should be price controls on all construction materials including cement, bricks and steel. Sand mining must be stopped, and sand be made for the poor and middle class at a subsidized rate. Prices must be determined for M sand.
b) Central and state government should endorse the provisions of ILO Convention No. 189 for domestic workers. Minimum wages of Rs. 75 per hour must be stipulated.
c) All Urban street vendors must be surveyed and given identity card, vending space, loans and transport as per the provisions of Street Vendors Protection Act and Rules.
d) All auto workers must be given compulsory insurance, with female workers prioritized for all Govt jobs.
e) Free clay must be given to all pottery workers. Free pots must be provided the people on ration cards as part of Pongal packages.
f) Laundry workers must be included in the list of unorganized workers, and must be given state-of- the-art equipment, free iron boxes, LPG cylinders, and housing facilities.
g) All Hairdresser workers must be given free tools, electricity, and house plots and housing.
h) Separate, dedicated welfare boards must be created for salt workers. They must be guaranteed monsoon relief of Rs. 5000, water and toilet facilities at the workplace, rest rooms and childcare facilities, protective eye glasses, footwear,glovesi, health facilities, fair wages, housing and basic facilities.
i) Spinning, Weaving units must employ adult workers and implement minimum wage and overtime wage, night transport, complaints committee on sexual harassment.
j) Hand embroidery units must implement minimum wage and housing.
k) Contract employment system in conservancy sector in local bodies and departments must be stopped. They must be given permanent employment, protective gloves, footwear, masks, and soaps.
l) Waste workers who retrieve recyclable materials from waste must be given sanitized gloves, footwear, masks, soap, and other protective gear from the concerned local bodies, along with identity cards and training to create goods from recycled materials.
m) Pensions and educational aid must be provided by welfare boards for fish workers
n) Villages must be created for members of the Irula tribe to live together. They must be given agricultural land, livestock, aid for cultivation, brick kilns to be operated on a cooperative basis, rice mills, compulsory higher education, and skills training.
o) Narikkuravas must be declared as Scheduled Tribe (ST) by the Central government. The Narikkurava welfare board must be improved, and housing facilities must be provided.

15. Resources-based demands:
a) Surplus lands under the Urban Land Ceiling Act, especially those under benami must be identified and retrieved. Surplus lands and puramboke lands must be allocated as plots for landless workers, and 2 acres each allocated for released bonded labourers and landless farm workers. Agriculture must be protected and organic farming must be encouraged.
b) Panchami lands allocated for marginalized Scheduled Tribe groups during colonial times have been encroached upon. They should be retrieved, and allocated in terms of 2 acres per Dalit - ST family.
c) All the stone quarries in Tamil Nadu must be leased on priority to released bonded labourers, women’s groups and cooperative societies.
d) All the salt pans in the control of the central and state governments must be leased to salt pan workers on priority basis.
e) The Forest Rights Act must guarantee land rights, patta, and the right to collect forest products to Scheduled Tribe communities.
f) Coastal land rights being taken away under Sagarmala must be retracted and privatization of Ennore port and Kosasthaliar must be stopped to ensure fishers’ fishing rights and farmers’ rights.
g) Fishing rights upto 12 km from the coast must be ensured and the sea between India and Sri Lanka must be made common as before. Surukku nets and Chinese high power engines must be banned.

16. Sexual violence and attacks on SC ST and Minorities must be prevented through Value education from 1st std to higher education, self - defense training, complaints committees, CCTV cameras in vulnerable spots. Financial help for affected persons, Rehabilitation, Fast track courts, Severe punishment for culprits must be implemented.

17. The Employment Guarantee Scheme must be implemented in urban and rural areas , guaranteeing 200 days of employment for all.

18. Prime Minister Awas Yojana allocation must be increased to 6 Lakhs for 300 sq ft unit to manage price escalation.

19. Control Prices of essential commodities and provision of 30 kg rice, Dhals, Millets, cooking oilin ration shops.

20. Complete prohibition of alcohol and drugs must be undertaken and ensured with the help of a special Police taskforce.

21. The Central government should immediately retract its policy to privatize services such as railways, electricity and transport. The schemes and discounts for the elderly and the disabled must not be removed.