79 per cent labourers not associated with any union: NSSO

Updated on May 10, 2007 06:10 AM IST
A new NSSO report may give fillip to the already growing trade unions’ membership in India, report Chetan Chauhan and Sutirtho Patranobis.
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None | ByChetan Chauhan and Sutirtho Patranobis, New Delhi

A new National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) report may give fillip to the already growing trade unions’ membership in India.

The NSSO on Wednesday said that nearly 79 per cent of the casual labourers in rural and urban India are not associated with any union or association. Even among regular and salaries employees, nearly 53 per cent are not with any union or association.

A recent survey by the ministry of Labour and Employment had found huge increase in membership of trade unions in the country. In the case of BJP-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), membership has more than doubled, from 27 lakh in 1996 to more than 60 lakh at present.

Among the Left bloc unions, CPI’s All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) now has above 33 lakh members. Ten years ago, AITUC had 9 lakh members. It has also surpassed CPIM’s Centre for India Trade Unions – which saw a rise from 17 lakh to 26 lakh -- as the largest Left-affiliated union in the country. Congress-affiliated Indian National Trade Union Congress’s membership has also grown from 25 lakh to above 38 lakh, making it the second largest union in the country.

The NSSO said that existence of trade unions often give workers a collective bargaining power in respect of their common interests. But, the majority of Indian workers are still deprived of this collective bargaining power for wages, job security, social security and safety in the work place. Women workers and those in rural areas fall more in this category than the male workers, the NSSO report states.

The report can also provide the unions a cause to fight for the workers as it states that 59 per cent of salaries or regular wage employees don’t have a written contract. About 33 per cent of these employees are on temporary roles. Nearly 46 per cent of them are
not entitled for paid leave and 55 per cent don’t have social security.

The report indicates that there is not much awareness about political consciousness although the discontent among the workers is high.

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