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Eradicating Bonded Labour from India’s Brick Kiln Sector
Targeting brick kilns in the States of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, we are using various means to reduce worker vulnerability to debt bondage and poverty. Within this, we are trying to help the workers on the kilns access their legal entitlements, promote better working conditions on the kilns, provide legal assistance to those in need and to help organise working groups and committees. The hope is that providing the kiln workers with essential immediate support as well as well as providing them with the capacity to make a difference in their own lives, we will be able to tackle the short and long term issues of debt bondage in the brick kiln sector. We are working with numerous stakeholders including authorities from District to National level as well as with the brick kiln owners, whose inclusion in the project is essential to its success”
Bonded Labour Act Amendment
In this project we are focussing specifically on the release and rehabilitation of bonded labourers. We are part of a coalition of NGOs across India who are pursuing an acceleration in government-led rescue operations. As part of the coalition we will seek to persuade state and national governments to invest the necessary resources to eliminate bonded labour in India.
Our first priority is identifying the bonded labourers through conducting extensive field work. We then provide legal assistance to those in need and give them with rehabilitation support so that they do not fall back into debt bondage.
It is hoped that through both the advocacy work being conducted by us and others around the country and with the work we are conducting with the bonded labourers, that we will be able to implement better monitoring structures across areas we are working so that we can bring an end to the scourge of debt bondage.
Breaking Bondage and Securing Rights
Our longest running project which ended in December 2012 has targeted ending bonded labour and gaining workers and their families access to their rights since 2003. The main objectives of the project are: To democratise society at all levels, to increase the control people have over their livelihoods and the environment, to get children recognised as equal citizens and to increase the assertion of women and girls’ rights.
Over the course of this project, we have rescued around 3,179 labourers from situations of debt bondage and have had 127 million rupees worth of bonded debt extinguished. We have helped establish unions so that people understand their rights and are able to combat abuses of them and we have helped set up educational groups which empower both men, women and children.
DDVA were instrumental in the formation of the NREGA unions in Punjab in 2009. Since then, it has gained a broad base of members (over 12,000) who are aware of their rights and are able to campaign for them. They are instrumental in the educating and informing workers in Punjab of their constitutional and legal rights as well as ensuring that the government scheme actually operates properly.
Objectives of the NREGA Workers Union
  • To organise workers registered under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005.
  • To ensure that the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 is fully implemented letter and spirit.
  • To ensure its members benefit from various legislations and schemes of the State/ Central Government to benefit for the rural workers.
  • To run an educational programme for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005, regarding their Employment, Health, Social Security, Banking, Holiday Packages, Education of children, Women Rights etc.
  • To bargain with the State or any employer for better wages, better working conditions, maternity benefits, dignity of the workers specially women and girls, child health care & securing old age benefits for its members.
  • To establish/join a collation or federation of workers at the State/National/ International Level.
  • To raise funds from the State/International bodies as grants or loans to run its educational or other welfare programmes.
  • To promote workers’ cooperatives for Public Distribution System, milk cooperatives, housing cooperatives and any other type of cooperative insuring its workers to the poverty ending programmes.
  • To broaden its base from Village/Block/Tehsil/District and State as the case may be and to provide decent living to its employees and whole timers.
  • To ensure its female member workers gain respect, dignity and freedom basic amenities at work site.
  • To protect the rights of the physical challenged, people living with HIV/AIDS and sexual minorities, to ensure their full participation and homogeneous environment and privacy for them.
  • To strengthen “Right to Work” campaigns. Efforts shall be made to include Right to Work as a fundamental right in Part IV of the Constitution of India.
  • To provide Social Security to its members, Officers and staff.
  • To provided safe & congenial atmosphere for the women workers ensuring full safety from sexual harassment at the work place.
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