The world of work for majorities of Indians is full of fragility and vulnerability. Ever-increasing flexibilities in the labour markets push workers into further vulnerabilities with regard to wages, “working conditions” and “bargaining ability”. The vast majorities of our workers in India, over 93% of them, fall in the category of the “informal sector” – with no regularity of wages, measly, if any, forms of social security and rights, and little prospect of joining the ranks of regular wage workers.
To construct a fair and just world for millions of wage workers we need to constitute a constitutionally enshrined and justiciable “right to work”, in addition we need to make good on a promise of a decent minimum wage with provisions of indexation. The labour laws regime should unequivocally ensure equal wages for equal work; the recognition, reduction and redistribution of unpaid care work of women; and a universal social security cover with social security and right to food, education, health, shelter, decent work, pensions, maternity benefits, life and disability cover.
As part of the European Commission supported project to work on “Securing rights and sustainable livelihoods through collective action and education for people dependent on the informal economy in India” it was felt that a study should be undertaken on the issue of social security for unorganised workers that could inform ongoing interventions and engagements to ensure rights of working people.
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