Under the auspices of the Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), a massive rally of construction workers was taken out on March 13, 2014 from the Ramlila Maidan to the Jantar Mantar passing through the Connaught Place. Red banners and placards focusing the demands of the construction workers were held by the participants in the procession. Workers raised slogans in support of their demands. Construction workers from Punjab, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, UP, West Bengal, Haryana, Rajasthan and Bihar participated in this programme. More than four thousand workers participated in the Rally and public meeting.
An impressive public meeting was held as a culmination of the rally at the Jantar Mantar that was presided over by Com. Vyas Tiwari, National Committee member of IFTU. The meeting was addressed by Raj Singh, member of National Committee, Com. Pradeep, General Secretary, IFTU, Com. Sujan Chakrovorty, NCM from Bengal, Com. Kulwinder Singh NCM from Punjab, Com. Radheshyam, NCM from UP, Com. P. Prasad, Joint Secretary, IFTU, Com. PP Kapoor from Haryana and Dr. Animesh Das, President, Delhi IFTU.
This was for the first time that a programme of the construction workers at all India level was held in Delhi focusing the serious issues faced by the construction workers in the country. All the speakers condemned the failure of the governments in enforcing the laws like the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996 and the Cess Welfare Act, 1996.
A delegation of five members submitted a memorandum addressed to the Union Labour Minister. The demands listed in the memorandum are:
- Registration of every construction worker and the responsibility lies with the owner/contractor under whom the work is done.
- Remove all fees other than registration fee and the fines that are being imposed on workers in states e.g. Punjab.
- Every construction worker should be given a bicycle.
- Announce openly the amount collected and spent for the welfare of construction workers under the Welfare Cess Act.
- Build night shelters with proper amenities for migrant labour and create designated labour shelters.
- All workers should be provided PF and ESI facilities.
- Retirement benefit of pension amounting to not less than the minimum wage should be provided.
- In case of accidents, all expenses should be borne by the Board.
- Safety kit should be supplied by the Board to all construction workers.
- An insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakh to all registered workers.
- As per the provision of 1996 Act, every construction worker should be given Rs. 2 lakhs for construction of house free of interest.
- Include construction workers’ representatives in Construction Workers’ Welfare Boards.