A Journey in the Enactment of the Central Legislation :

BackGround :

During 80's the workers conditions were very pathetic, most of the workers were brought by contractors from neighbouring districts like gulbarga, bidar, raichur, bellary etc, and states like Tamilnade and Andrapradesh they were not provided any place for staying hence they themselves settled in unhumanised places near stormdrains, graveyards, near railway tracks etc.
They were treated like bonded labourers and meagre wages were paid to them, regular work was not available to them it depended on supply of raw materials, whenever it rains there will be no work, in case of any accident the worker family is thrown out to the street, accident compensation were not paid whether injuried or died.npssml

In the Picture is Com. Firoz Ahmed First General secretary of the Union,Shri. Veerappa Moily Hon'ble Chief Minister of Karnataka, Com.N.P.Samy President, Com. Jeevanand, submitting a Memorandum at Bangalore.

Denial of Justice :

Even though there are more than 150 labour legislations including state and central legislations which are basically framed keep in mind the permanent nature of work, where in there is a regualar and permanent relationship with the employer and the employee the workers in the construction industry who do not have a permanent employer, work under contractor and meistry (supervoiser) and sub contacting system which denies them all the righs to avail benefits from the existing legislations.

The need for an appropriate Legislation :

Construction industry being peculiar in nature where in the workers keep moving while the product remains stationary and workers working under a chain of contractors and sub contractors it was felt an appropriate legislation exclusively to take of these kind of drawbacks was thought of. and it was felt for a need to legislate a central legislation.

Efforts to organise Constuction workers :

The nature of workers being complex, always moving from one work site to an other, working under different contractors and subcontractors and principal employers, workers being illelerate, ignorant, alcoholic and rigid it is very difficult to create awareness among them as it is very difficult to contact them either at work place or at their living places.

The Dawn of Karnataka State Construction Workers Central Union(KSCWCU) :

Karnataka State Construction Workers Central Union(KSCWCU) is an independent trade union formed in the year 1980 and registered under the Trade Union Act in the year 1982 in Karnataka, is working for the cause of construction workers in the state of Karnataka for the past 29 years. KSCWCU has a membership of more than 64,000 in the state of Karnataka. KSCWCU is the constituent member of National Centre for Labour(NCL).

Bridging unions :

For an enactment of a central legislation atleast two states needs to come together and submit the draft legislation to the parliament for consideration.

Union working among construction labour were contacted in Tamilnadu, Andrapradesh, Pondicherry, Delhi and Maharastra and forged an alliance.

Evolution of National Federation Of Construction Labour (NFCL) :

The union representatives from Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Andrapradesh, Pondicherry, Delhi and Maharastra came together and formed National Federation Of Construction Labour (NFCL) in the year 1991 in Bangalore on 14th December.

Formation of National Campaign Committee :

The members of NFCL formed a national committee to draft a comprehensive bill and to pressurise the central government to enact the legislation. npssmlThe committe organised a national convention at Delhi in the year 1985, which resolved to launch a national campaign under the leadership of Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer. The committee drafted a bill.

Lobby and Advocacy for the Enactment of Central Legislation:

After drafting the comprehensive bill in the year 1985 a signature campaign was launched and 10 lakhs signatures from construction workers were collected from all over the country.
In the year 1986 the campaign committee organised a "Parliament Chalo" rally at Delhi and submitted a memorandum to the President of India demanding the immediate enactment of the legislation along with the signatures.

In the Picture is Com. V.R.KrishnaIyer, Com.Venkataramani, Com. Michealfernandes in a meeting at Bangalore in the year 1986.

Hurdles during the enactment of the legislation:

The powerful Builders lobby to stall and dilute the legislation delayed the early passage of the bill.

Passage of Ordinance:

During the period 1986 to 1995 3 ordinance were promulgated.

Enactment of Central legislation:

In the year 1996 after the announcement of parliamentary elections, a convention was held on urban poor and unorganised workers in Bangalore. A massive crowd of more than a lakh comprising of urban poor and unorganised workers including construction workers participated from all districts including Bangalore. During the convention, KSCWCU demanded to enact a law for the construction workers in the state and to support the passage of the pending Bill of construction workers in Parliament. Shri H.D Devegowda, Then Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka attended the convention and he sought our support to their party candidates in the parliamentary elections and he promised to consider our demands if his party gets a majority. The Hon’ble Chief Minister promised that the law for protecting construction workers will be enacted soon. During the same period, when the United Front Government came to power in the centre, Shri H.D. Devegowda, became the Prime Minister. As a prime minister, he fulfilled his promise by enacting ‘The Building and Other Construction Workers(Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act 1996.

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