Real Estate

Construction workers begin two-day strike in 18 States

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Dec 02, 2021
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The trade union had sent a charter of demands to Centre and State governments, listing their concerns.

About ten lakh construction workers, under the banner of the Construction Workers Federation of India (CWFI), one of the largest trade unions the workers in this unorganised sector, have started a two-day strike on Thursday. The CWFI has sent a charter to the Centre and State Governments demanding that the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act should not be merged with the Code on Occupational Health & Safety and service conditions.

They want the Centre to strengthen the welfare boards for construction workers by supporting pension expenditure. The third demand is protection of the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 and the Building and other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act (BOCW), 1996 and the Cess Act of 1998. The fourth demand is seeking a reduction in the prices and the GST on construction materials.

General secretary of the CWFI C Sasikumar told BusinessLine that the strike has partially impacted construction activities in 18 States. "We salute the workers in this highly unorganised sector who have decided to raise their voice against the Centre for diluting whatever little social security they have at present. The Labour Codes will be detrimental to the interests of construction workers. They had to face severe hardships during the lockdown. It's the duty of the Governments to help them," Sasikumar said.

He said 13 labour laws, including the BOCW Act, Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, etc, were merged into the Code on Occupational Health & Safety and service conditions. "Some legislations on the workers in construction sector were merged with the Code on Social Security too. Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act have been providing many welfare benefits for more than five crore construction workers all over India. The benefits are given through State level construction workers welfare boards. If labour codes are implemented, BOCW Act, Cess Act will cease to operate. The future of more than ₹ 43000 crore available with these welfare boards will be uncertain. Therefore these acts shall be de-linked from the labour codes and implemented in a proper manner," Sasikumar said.

Sasikumar said there is a scarcity of construction materials like sand, gravel and stone in many States. "Besides, the prices of construction materials are going sky high. Centre shall curtail the prices by reducing GST on construction materials," he added.

Published on December 02, 2021

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