Home News Postcard campaign launched to garner support for unorganized workers

Postcard campaign launched to garner support for unorganized workers

A “Postcard Campaign” was launched in Telangana to advocate for the expansion of Employee’s State Insurance (ESI) to all workers in the unorganized sector.

The campaign was initiated by the Montfort Social Institute (MSI) in Hyderabad, capital of Telangana, in partnership with the Working People’s Coalition, a national platform of more than 300 independent trade unions and workers’ organizations across India.

The campaign, launched on July 15 in various districts of Telangana, has garnered support from both workers and the general public.

The campaign is being organized in response to an urgent need for affordable healthcare and social security for workers. Over the past five years, it was revealed that approximately 6,500 employees have lost their lives while on duty at factories, ports, mines, and construction sites.

The organizers say the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for safe and healthy work environments, highlighting that decent work is unattainable without access to proper healthcare. Shockingly, only 11 percent of 500 million workers in India are currently covered under existing social security schemes, they add.

To address these issues and demand necessary reforms in the healthcare system, the campaign advocates for the expansion of ESI to all workers across sectors.

Backed by the Working People’s Coalition, workers from unorganized sectors have presented a petition to the Offices of the Prime Minister, Chief Minister, Governor, and relevant ministries at New Delhi and Hyderabad.

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Addressing the campaign, MSI director Montfort Brother Varghese Theckanath said, “Decent work is impossible without healthy workers and healthy workspaces. Our attempt to universalise ESI for all workers is based on the simple premise that no one is safe unless everyone is. We hope the government understands the needs and demands of the workers and expands the scope of ESI to include all workers.”

Even though the workers in the unorganized sectors constitute 93 percent of the total work forces, the existing social security systems, labor codes and the government policies do not really cover the welfare, safety and the larger goal of social security for them. With the new labor codes yet to be enforced and the old ones repealed, the workers now are forced to work in a vacuum without regulation, Brother Theckanath added.

The campaign is spread across the country, raising awareness and garnering popular support for the cause. MSI and the Working People’s Coalition now organize sectoral meetings, press conferences, and meetings with parliamentary officials to spread awareness and gather support for the cause.

The national campaign culminates on July 25 with a Parliamentary Roundtable and protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi with the members of the Working People’s Coalition and government authorities.

The district where the campaign was launched on July 15 were Telangana’s Hyderabad, Medchal-Malkajgiri, Rangareddy, Sangareddy, Vanaparthy, Patancheru, Suryapet, and Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram, Vijayawada, and Guntur.

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