National Commission on Labour (1967)||
29.76 Besides unorganised labour, there is a large element of unprotected labour, working in different parts of the country particularly in some of the larger towns and cities. Very little is known about it and much less has been done to ameliorate its conditions of work. The main difficulty in reaching relief to a worker in this category is the ill-defined arrangement he has with the employer or the person for whom he works on a specific job. The Maharashtra Government recently attempted to understand the position about these workers and to explore the possibility of reaching relief to it within the ambit of the existing labour legislation. On the basis of the findings of the committee specially appointed for the purpose, the Maharashtra Legislature has passed a Bill, the Maharashtra Mathadi, Hamal and other Manual Workers (Regulation of Employment and Welfare) Bill, 1968 which is now awaiting the sanction of the President. The background to this legislation and its salient provisions are in Annexure. We expect that on the experience of its operation when enacted, it should be possible for States where the problem of such labour is of some magnitude to take up similar measures.
29.77 In formulating the following recommendations about unorganised labour, we are conscious of the difficulties in assessing the magnitude of the task, inadequacy of legislative support and implementation machinery.
(i) Understanding of the problems of different categories of unorganised labour is essential for formulation of suitable ameliorative measures for welfare. First-hand detailed surveys of these categories should be undertaken from time to time to study their problems and conditions of work.
(ii) The State will have to play an increasingly important role in providing legislative
protection for unorganised/unprotected labour. The requirements of legislation and the need for revision of existing measures should be under constant review.
(iii) Legislative and administrative procedures applicable to small establishments should be simplified to facilitate their understanding and implementation.
(iv) With the spread of education, unorganised workers will become organised and will form themselves into unions. This process should be expedited.
(v) There are three difficulties peculiar to the enforcement of law and welfare measures by administrative agencies. First, there is lack of. a suitable system of labour inspection to ensure that work-places scattered over a wide area are , inspected regularly for watching the actual application of legal provisions, for advising the workers and employers on requirements of the law and how to comply with them, and lastly for instituting appropriate legal action, if necessary, to secure compliance. Secondly, Government finances have come in the way of reinforcing and strengthening the existing implementation machinery. Thirdly, there are difficulties of small employers who have their hands full in running their shops; they find it difficult to employ separate staff to look after various formalities and keep accounts. We have considered these difficulties. We do not see any alternative to reinforcing the implementation machinery. Secondly, difficulties of small employers are genuine and these have to be looked into sympathetically. At the same time small employers should be encouraged to form associations and give training to their staff.
(vi) More vigorous steps should be taken towards protection of workers against exploitation by middlemen and development of self-help among them through cooperatives. The cooperative societies should seek to ensure (i) payment of adequate wages to workers, (ii) bonus to their members out of a portion of profit, and (iii) employment opportunities for the under-employed or unemployed among them.