National Working Committee Meeting, New Delhi

New Delhi, August 28, 2009

The day long National Working Groups' meeting was organised in at SSN Secretariat in the Centre for Education and communication New Delhi. The meeting was attended by more then 30 representatives, representing 19 organisations from ten states, who deliberated on issues and took important decisions. List of participants is at Annexure I.

Key Points in the Discussions

  • After introduction of participants unanimously elected Vinay Kumar chairperson for conducting the meeting. The group considered the progress in the last National Working Groups' meeting and meeting with the Minster for Labour Mr. Harish Rawat & ministry officials the group discussed the Agenda of the meeting.
  • Participants considered the concept note ‘National Convention on Social Security for Unorganised Workers, Patna, November, 2009. Ranjan from Nidan, Patna gave details of important guests for the National consultation, participants and logistics.
  • Chairperson Vinay said the planning commission created discrimination between organised and unorganised workers and their social security needs. He said organised workers are getting gratuity, pension, reasonable medical care and other protections. When organised worker goes on one month leave, he continues to get wage/salary income but unorganised would not get such income protection.
  • John said ILO has pointed out that 3.9 per cent of GDP would be sufficient for taking care of social security needs of the workers in India. He gave details of lacunae of existing Act and clarified that we have three strong reasons for the National Consultation are: (i) We have an Act on social security which is inadequate, weak and worthless. (ii) The trade unions in series of meetings with government, in successive ILCs, in joint meetings of CTOs etc; the CSOs and campaign groups and the stronger campaign of Social Security Now; the NCL-II, NCEUS and Parliamentary committee all demanded for a comprehensive social security protection. The government ignored all such suggestions, recommendations and demands. Now the chief justice of supreme court raised the questions on various provisions and basic structure of the Act supporting our position (iii) Social security should be the issue of people. Working people should demand social security in their language and tone.
  •  Shaktiman Ghosh suggested that the National consultation should be held in Delhi after through preparations so that its impact would be felt by all, He suggested that this important issue should be taken up more seriously with due preparations. Net-works are addressing only legislation and doing academic work. The campaign documents should be precise, in the language of workers and shorter.
  • Ambarish Rai said that social security for unorganised workers is a big issue, particularly when nation is witnessing shrinking of agrarian economy. He said National consultation should not be organised hurriedly. He suggested if the academic works generated by SSN is taken to grass root level and peoples movements should accept it.
  • Mecanzy Dabre of YUVA said the National consultation should be early; there is no other way to say No to the existing legislation, the 2008 Act. Begin at National level then go to state level meetings and then to grass root level.
  • Shashi Pandit said National convention is not the end. After passing of the Act in December 2008 there was a silence from campaign groups, trade unions and movements for many months. Now it is most appropriate time for intensive campaign, national convention and to say No to the existing useless and weak Act of 2008.
  • Anup Srivastava suggested that we should demand for universal social security for all and not for workers alone. Thematic area need to be considered.
  • Vijayan MJ said we have not got social security for unorganised workers, let us first get it for workers then we will demand for universalisation of social protections. We need to do a Dhamaka at National level after passing of the Act. We need to prepare a small handout in strongly worded but in peoples’ language.
  • Ambarish Rai said there need to be appropriate atmosphere of convention; it should be made effective by popular slogans and posters etc; the Act of 2008 should be burnt throughout the country to convey that we have rejected it. Mass organisations, students famous writers should be invited.
  • Rajesh Kumar Malviya said we will be able to identify workers and make groups of those who will burn the Act. Shaktiman Ghosh said we will burn it in ten states.

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