In its verdict, the National People’s Tribunal on ‘Living Wages as a Fundamental Right of Indian Garment Labours’ observed that the garment workers are exploited and denied of basic human rights.
While assessing the testimonials provided by the 20 labor organizations including All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and Garment and Textile Workers Union (GATWU), the tribunal found sufficient evidence of violation of human rights consisting of low wages and long working hours along with sexual harassment and other violence against women.
On the basis of the findings, the Tribunal recommended the Central Government to consider an imperative policy tool to eradicate poverty.
According to the Tribunal, the Government needs to adopt and effectively implement new legislation regarding licensing and registration of labor brokers and employment agencies, in compliance with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on private employment agencies.
The verdict states that the particular level of wages which constitutes a living wage can be determined on the basis of the existing information fairly, precisely and the way it will vary by regions.
The Tribunal asked the trade unions to consider priority duty to be proactive in countering unfair labor practices by introducing sufficient dissuasive penalties and effectively prosecuting unfair practices where they occur.
With regard to the Wage Theft, the tribunal recommended that ‘Wage Theft’ must be taken note of seriously and the labour department as well as the apparel brands must ensure that special training programs are conducted for workers on how to identify and redress wage theft.
The Tribunal suggested that all employers should immediately constitute complaint committees within their establishments to protect their women employees from sexual harassment as per the Supreme Court guidelines.
The four day Tribunal which concluded in Bangalore, assured that it will accompany the workers in their fight for justice.
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