Meeting discusses welfare measures of jute sector workers
A meeting of the Industrial Tripartite Committee on Jute Industry was held on 20th July, 2010 at New Delhi under the chairmanship of Shri Harish Rawat, Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment. The representatives from workers' organizations (BMS, INTUC, VITU, AIUTUC), Employers' Federations (AJMA, AIMO, and Laghu Udyog Bharti) of the Jute Industry sector as well as representatives of State Governments of West Bengal and Bihar participated in this Meeting.
The Committee discussed the issues related with lower productivity in the Jute Industry, non-payment of gratuity to workers in the Jute Industry, non-payment of provident fund dues to the workers and non-payment of ESI deductions from the workers to the ESIC. A presentation on the status of the Jute Industry and initiatives taken by the EPFO and ESIC to help the workers in the Jute Industry was also made in the meeting.
While there was a broad consensus between workers' unions and employers' associations on the need to provide assistance in the form of soft loan to the employers so that old gratuity dues are cleared, the workers' unions unanimously voiced the plight of workers who were yet to receive their gratuity.
They also highlighted the poor safety conditions in the mills, varied wage structure in the industry, the need to protect this industry in view of environment friendliness, etc. The Employers' associations raised the issues related with squeezing of profits in the industry and allowing them to utilize their non-productive assets in a better way in order to create funds for clearing the social security dues.
Summing up the deliberations, Shri Rawat underlined the need for enhancing productivity of the industry through greater emphasis on research and development. He directed that apex trade unions should also be informed while carrying out joint inspections by EPFO and ESIC. He pointed out that non-payment of gratuity dues results in the old workers continuing work in the Industry in the hope of getting their dues cleared in future which prevents the generation of new employment in the Industry.
He requested the Ministry of Textiles to take a view on the proposal of providing a soft loan to clear the statutory social security dues. He assured the participants that DG, FASLI will be advised to study the safety measures prevalent in the Jute Industry in order to assess the safety conditions. He also stressed the need for having a study conducted to analyze the wage structure for various categories of workers in the industry.
The Minister thanked all the participants for their suggestions and stressed the need for a constructive cooperation from all stake holders – workers, employers as well as State Governments – so that legitimate concerns of the workers as well as the industry are taken care of.
Ministry of Labour & Employment