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Safe in India Crosses 1000 injured worker attendance at Worker Support Group Meetings; and Progress

Updated: Dec 24, 2019

Dear Supporters of Safe In India

Thanks to your support and encouragement, we continue to make steady progress. The last quarter had two important highlights:

  1. We launched our Accident Prevention Report “Crushed” over a road show in August 19, which we covered in our last blog here. Watch a short video highlighting the tension between views of the business, unions, workers, and academia, and on recommendations in our Report. Since the launch we have had follow up constructive discussions on actions needed with the Central Labour Ministry, Gurgaon Commissioner, DG ESIC, Maruti-Suzuki and ACMA (Automobile Component Manufacturers Association). However, Honda and Hero have not engaged as well and we aim to escalate matters further should we not succeed by Dec19. If you have any suggestions, please write to our Head of Safety:

  2. Since the beginnings of our Worker Assistance Centre in Manesar, we have been providing a platform to injured workers to come together and support each other at our monthly Worker Support Group meetings and Shramik Sammelans (worker events). These meetings are used to discuss ESIC and safety related issues and help resolve their doubts while empowering them through knowledge. We are delighted that in the last quarter, the attendance in these meetings reached 1108! See our Impact Report Here.

Faridabad even worse than Gurgaon: For three months now, our team has been visiting Faridabad to assess the same issues of accidents that we have been working on in Gurgaon. Sadly, we see injuries in Faridabad even worse than Gurgaon as it appears that the machines are even older and work practices even worse than Gurgaon. These are however early impressions and we need to do lot more work to understand this.

ESIC Update:

We assisted another 182 injured workers (including 56 in Faridabad), and helped a number of them receive another Rs2.5crore value ESIC compensation bringing our total assisted workers to 2,168 and total compensation to Rs17.1 crores.

ESIC has accepted two of our key suggestions and has launched a Worker Health Diary based on our Worker Hith-laabh (benefits) Diary; this will be distributed to 13 crore people in due course but the start appears to be slow. Similarly, to improve awareness of ESIC benefits, ESIC will soon be ready to launch an ESIC Welcome Pack which will also have an online version including a few process fulfilment applications. We continue to assist ESIC NHQ pro-bono with both of these. We are also pleased to see a gradual improvement in services to workers by ESIC Gurgaon though there is still a long way to go.

Our view on the new Labour Codes:

The Indian government has circulated the drafts of the Social Security Code (SSC) and Occupational Health and Safety Code (OSHC). These two are important for our cause and we have submitted our feedback on SSC as it includes ESIC provisions. We are concerned about the dilution of worker rights and coverage under the new Code and have sent our feedback to improve coverage, quality of services, and transparency and accountability. We are also keen that ESIC data on worker injuries and sicknesses is used to improve safety in all industries and have agreed this idea in-principle with DG ESIC and the Minister of Labour. Again long way to go but if we can achieve this, it will make a big difference.

Lots more to say but for now, we will stop here. We will be back early next year with a full year 2019 update and wish you a great season of festivals and a fabulous New Year. Follow us on our facebook page and twitter, both of which we aim to improve in the next few months to keep you updated much more regularly.

Team Safe in India.

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