Adopted at the 20th Congress of the CPI(M), Kozhikode, April 4-9, 2012
On Increasing Contractorisation of Workers
The 20th Congress of the CPI(M) expresses its deep concern and strongly protests, against the increasing contractorisation of workers in various sectors of the economy which has resulted in a manifold increase in the exploitation of workers, by keeping wage costs down and denying workers their minimum rights.
Shamefully, it is the Central and many State Governments in pursuit of neo-liberal policies which have taken the lead in imposing contractorisation of the workforce. In the name of making industries competitive and attracting investments, the Central Government has permitted the gross violation of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act 1970 by the private and public sector. The Act prohibits employment of contract workers in jobs of a perennial nature, but in practice this is what is happening and has become wide spread, not only in the manufacturing and service sectors but also in Government services. In the unorganized sector, the practice is rampant.
In Public Sector units, the contractor workers share in the total workforce is more than 50% and in the Private Sector it is more than 80%. As per a recent survey by a Government organization, there are more than 3.6 crores of contract workers under licensed contractors. Keeping in view the mushrooming growth of unlicensed contractors the total number of contract workers will be more than 5 crores.
Contract workers are denied even the legal minimum wages and other statutory social security benefits like ESI, PF. While contract workers are deployed along with regular workers in regular activities of the establishment, their wages are always paltry. In some cases, the contract worker gets one-tenth of the wages of a regular worker, for doing similar work.
The majority of these workers are denied the right to organize. The immediate threat of losing their jobs and income if they unionise ensures that they remain vulnerable to intense exploitation. In particular women contract workers often become victims to harassment and sexual abuse.
Trade Unions in the country have been demanding amendments to the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act to ensure regularization of contract workers in perennial nature of jobs, and to end the collusion of employers and enforcement authorities, so as to ensure proper implementation of the law. Pending the legal changes required, trade unions have demanded that contract workers should be paid wages equal to that of a regular worker with other social security benefits so as to end the cruel exploitation prevalent now.
The 20th Congress of CPI(M) extends full support to the struggles of Contractor Workers and Trade Unions on their just demands of ending this exploitative contractor system in regular jobs. The fight against capitalism in its neo liberal phase requires an understanding of how the widespread nature of the contract worker system is functioning as an instrument to intensify the exploitation of labour and further push down the subsistence wage to maximise profits.
As a party of the working class, the CPIM calls upon it's units to launch a widespread campaign against contractualisation of the labour force as part of the party's political platform and to help to mobilize contract workers for their rights and for justice.