Independent labour research institutions and NGOs, have brought out a comprehensive report on ‘Social Protection of Informal Sector Workers and Existing Rights to Ensure Decent Living Wage’. This report is a based on a 10 state survey of informal workers carried out between ( ). The research team comprised of Mr. L.A Samy, Mr. L.D Sagayam and Mr. N.S Babu, in cooperation with NDWM, CFTUI, AREDS, YCW India, CWM India and supported by WSM. The survey covering more than 3000 workers in three key sectors of Agriculture, Construction and Domestic work details various aspects of livelihood, living conditions, provisions for social security protection, its implementation and efficacy.
While identifying several major lapses in the legislative and social security provisions for informal workers, the report recommends the setting up of a National General Wage Commission on the lines of the Pay Commission to recommend and revise wages. They also demand a comprehensive common fair-wage policy to mitigate the differences in minimum wage rates across states and end the discrimination of some sectors and workers due to state government’s lack of will to adequately revise wage laws. The report also recommends the setting up of a National Commission for informal workers, formalizing the social security policy for informal workers and demands the implementation of land reforms to benefit landless agricultural labourers. The report also highlights the need for increased engagement of civil society organizations and NGOs with informal workers and their unions to further the rights of workers and safeguard their social protection.
In his foreward to the report, Prof Vijayabaskar, labour economist with Madras Institute of Development studies, while commending the study for establishing with data the pathetic conditions of work and life of informal workers also notes that the report raises further questions that need to be researched, such as the role of NREGS in rural economy, the extent of labour mobilization and the role of labour unions and associational politics among informal workers.
The full report is available here.