Part of a Nationwide Demonstration Organized by AITUC
Construction workers organized a small demonstration near Chennai Collectorate on 24th April. They are affiliated to the AITUC led Construction Workers Union (Kathada Thozhillalar Sangam). It was part of a nation-wide demonstration organized by AITUC. Directed at the State and Central Government, their demands sought enhanced benefits for construction workers from the Welfare Board. Speaking at the demonstration, Com. Susheela from AIDWA, mentioned the need to bring maternity benefits for women construction workers on par with benefits for women in formal employment.
The following are the demands raised by the construction workers
Collect construction cess for infrastructural work carried out by State and Central Government.
- Fix the retirement age for men at 60 and women at 50
- Provide Rs 3000 a month as pension
- Enhance compensation for accidental death to Rs 10 lakhs and natural death to Rs 5 lakhs.
- Provide maternity benefit of Rs 1 lakh to women
- Implement ESI, PF and other social benefits through welfare board
- Provide full cost of education (for children of construction workers) like it has been implemented in Delhi.
- Provide housing for all workers through state housing board
A petition addressed to the Chief Minister was delivered to the Chennai Collector. Presenting the demands of the workers, the petition highlighted that Tamilnadu construction welfare boards an accumulated cess of over Rs 1200 crores. It stated that the board only uses the interest accrued on this cess to disburse benefits, which limits beneficiaries. The petition urged the government not to restrict benefit commitments to merely the interest amount. It also urged the state government to increase the cess to 2% of the total construction estimate from the present 1%. These measures, the petition maintained would more be more than enough to ensure enhanced benefits.