Services to Migrant and Unorganised workers
Jeeva Jyothi works to restore the right to work to each person. No one should be denied the opportunity to earn a decent living through his or her own efforts. Though the Constitution of India does not guarantee the right to work as a fundamental right, through our actions, advocacy and lobbying, we want to ensure that the workers are given their due right to work, are given at least the minimum wages stipulated by the government, and that they eventually receive the true needs-based minimum wage.
Our reach among children and women in Thiruvallur district uncovered the existence of unorganized workers in large numbers. In the area called Red Hills, numerous rice mills and brick kilns employ bonded (forced) labourers. For a paltry sum borrowed by the worker or his ancestor, he is forced to work under the same owner until the debt is paid back. Very often, even after some years, the principal amount remains the same as the recovered amount is always shown as ‘interest amount’. The majority of the workers are illiterate hence what the owner says becomes the final word.
Jeeva Jyothi discovered that the workers and all the members of their families toiled for more than 16 to 20 hours a day under inhuman working conditions. They were confined within the work premises in thatched huts with the barest of amenities. They were not allowed to go out even for free medical treatment in the government health facilities. Children too worked along with their parents and not enrolled in schools. Most of the workers in the brick kilns were seasonal workers; in the off-season, they migrated to other places in search of alternate employment.
Since they migrate from their original place of living and do not stay here for long, they do not possess Ration Card, Voters Identity card and other legal documents issued by the government in order to be eligible for the entitlements of the government
To combat this problem, we set out to build good rapport with the owners of the rice mills and brick kilns. Gradually, they were sensitized on the existing legal provisions and the need to educate the children and to provide health facilities to the workers and their families.
Today the scenario has changed. The migrant workers are treated with respect and dignity by the employers. The workers are allowed to get enrolled in the trade unions and the welfare board set up by the government.
Jeeva Jyothi support the unorganised workers
Apart from the listed above all the interventions existing in the Jeeva Jyothi is extended to the children of unorganised workers too.