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Updated: 18.12.2012 15:51
Aktuelle Meldungen im neuen LabourNet Germany

Landesweiter Marsch für Arbeit und Mindestlöhne

"Employment Guarantee Scheme" (EGS) - Beschäftigungsgarantie ist eine der zentralen politischen Losungen des in Indien regierenden politischen Blocks aus Kongresspartei und linken Parteien. Da auch in Indien politische Losungen schneller öffentlich getrommelt werden als realisiert, ist am 13.Mai 2005 ein "Zug" quer durch Indien gestartet, der Eckpunkt einer landesweiten Kampagne zur Realisierung des EGS und der Verwirklichung bestehender Regelungen zum Mindestlohn werden soll. An diesem Zug nehmen VertreterInnen unterschiedlichster Organisationen und Initiativen teil: diverse Gewerkschaftszentralen, Frauenorganisationen, Slumvereinigungen, Organisationen von Dalits und Adivasis. Ein (englisch, mit kurzer deutscher Zusamenfassung) Überblick vom 30.Mai 2005, zusammengestellt aus Mailberichten des "Yatra communication team"

Deutsche Zusammenfassung

Dieser Bericht vom Kommunikationsteam des Marsches vom 27.Mai 2005 enthält einen Ausblick bis Ende Mai und die Berichte über die ersten beiden Wochen des Marsches, seitdem er von Delhi aus losgezogen ist.

Das EGS-System ist in mehreren Bundesstaaten schon seit langem in Kraft, hat aber nicht verhindert, dass in den 90er Jahren vor allem die ländliche Beschäftigung stark abgenommen hat - die neue Regierung hatte als Wahlaussage, dies wieder zu ändern.

Die erste grosse Aktion unterwegs war eine Demonstration mit 5.000 TeilnehmerInnen in Sagbara (Bundesstaat Gujarat), bei deren Abschlusskundgebung unterstrichen wurde, dass es lädnliche Beschäftigung nur mit einer Landreform geben könne.

In Nandurbar (Bundesstaat Maharashtra) - wo es seit den 70er Jahren ein EGS gibt - wurde vor allem darauf hingewiesen, dass in den Kassen des Bundeslandes Geld zu seiner Verwirklichung brach liegt.

In Pati (Bundesstaat Madhya Pradesh) sind die einst reichlich vorhandenen Beschäftigungsmöglichkeiten durch die Versteppung ehemaliger Waldgebiete weitgehend vernichtet - Migration an der Tagesordnung, aber es wurde auf der abschliessenden Kundgebung auch viel über die Organisierung von Widerstand und den Kampf um die Verwirklichung des Mindestlohns berichtet. Danach wurd ein Indore ein regelrechtes Tribunal veranstaltet, auf dem zahlreiche Menschen ihre Arbeits- und Lebensbedingungen als GelegenheitsarbeiterInnen und SlumbewohnerInnen schilderten.

In Uidaipur schliesslich traf der Marsch auf Menschen, die von Staudammprojekten mit vertreibung berdoht werden - solche, die es bisher verhindern konnten, und solche, denen zwar ein "neues Dorf übergeben" wurde - aber ohne die vormals bestehenden Arbeitsmöglichkeiten wurde es ein totes Dorf.

Rozgar Adhikar Yatra

The Rozgar Adhikar Yatra will be reaching Bhopal today (27 May), two weeks after leaving Delhi. The Yatra's colourful bus has already covered a distance of nearly 2,000 km through the scorched landscape of India's most deprived districts - Banswara, Panchmahals, Narmada, Nandurbar, Badwani, Khargone, among others. A long series of public events have been held on the way, including conventions, rallies, street plays, puppet shows and meetings with political leaders.

The Yatra is a highly multi-cultural event. Participants have joined from very diverse regions, age groups, communities and organizations - including workers' organizations, students' unions, women's groups, Dalit organizations and Adivasi sangathans. They are united in their commitment to the right to work as an aspect of the fundamental right to live with dignity. They live together and work as a team, with no master high or low.

In Gujarat, the highlight of the Yatra was a massive rally in Sagbara (Narmada district), convened by Punaravasan Sangharsh Samiti on 21 May. Around mid-day, some 5,000 women and men from surrounding villages virtually paralysed the town as they marched down the streets shouting the Yatra's main slogan - "Har Haath Ko Kaam Do, Kaam Ka Pura Daam Do". The pot-bellied traders who normally call the shots in Sagbara were not amused, though some did express sympathy and offered water to the marchers.

A recurrent theme of the meeting was the need to link the right to work with land reform and democratic control of natural resources, especially "jal, jungle, jameen".

The next day, the Yatra made a brief foray in Maharashtra (Nandurbar district). This was a good opportunity to learn more about Maharashtra's "employment guarantee scheme", which derives from an Employment Guarantee Act passed in the late seventies. The scheme is in place, but employment generation under EGS has declined significantly in the nineties. Nearly Rs 10,000 crores are lying idle in the state's "employment guarantee fund", ear-marked for EGS - this money is effectively being "raided" for other purposes. At a district-level convention held in Nandurbar on 22 May, many speakers emphasised the need for sustained struggle to ensure implementation of the forthcoming National Employment Guarantee Act, even after the Act is passed.

After entering Madhya Pradesh in Badwani district, the Yatris had a startling first-hand view of deforestation in India's semi-arid districts. In an area where there were dense forests not so long ago, the bare ground stretches for miles on end without shade. There is no work and most people survive from labour migration. In the absence of any economic security, local labourers (mainly Dalits and Adivasis) are exposed to rampant exploitation from the traders, employers and government officials. Some of them, however, are fighting back. In Pati, for instance, Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan has been waging a long struggle for minimum wages and the right to work.

On 23 May, the Sangathan and the Yatra joined hands in a strong display of solidarity at the Block headquarters. Also in Pati Block, the Yatris had a sobering glimpse of the National Food For Work Programme (NFFWP). The Programme appears to have been initiated in a half-hearted manner, without the safeguards required for effective implementation. In village Piparkund, a team of field investigators from the Delhi School of Economics found that labourers who asked for the minimum wage were summarily dismissed from the worksites. They also noticed other flagrant violations of the Programme guidelines. For instance, the muster rolls were nowhere to be found, the "monitoring committees" were inactive, and children were routinely employed on NFFWP worksites.

In Indore (24 May), public meetings were held among migrant labourers and slum dwellers. Here as elsewhere, the Yatra's message on the right to work immediately struck a chord with the audience.

Labourers spoke about the hardships of seasonal migration - exploitation, health hazards, disruption of children's education, and survival problems in the city. Assured employment in the village, they felt, was the only possible escape from this vicious cycle of exploitation and poverty. In the evening, an open-air dialogue on employment guarantee and the right to work took place between the Yatris and some of Indore's distinguished citizens - intellectuals, trade unionists, lawyers, writers, scientists, among others. Homi F. Dazi, veteran trade unionist and former Member of Parliament, welcomed the Yatra and placed the campaign for a full-fledged Employment Guarantee Act in the context of the larger struggle for workers' rights.

On 25 May, the Yatris were exposed to another dark side of rural India: large-scale displacement due to "development" projects especially large dams. A public meeting was held in Udaipur (district Khargone), one of 14 villages to be submerged by the Upper Veda dam. It is a lovely spot, where Adivasi families have built sturdy wooden houses surrounded by fertile land and splendid groves. So far, they have been able to prevent the construction of the dam and they are determined to stop it unless a credible rehabilitation package (including "land for land") is put in place. In the shadow of a large mango tree, the Yatris heard moving testimonies from Adivasi women and men who live under the constant threat of brutal displacement. In this area, the Food For Work Programme has not been initiated at all, because of the submergence plans. The day ended with further glimpses of shattered lives in New Harsud, where the inhabitants of an entire town were "rehabilitated" a year ago. After being forced to destroy their own homes in Harsud, the displaced families had to struggle with extreme hardships in this isolated spot, devoid of basic facilities such as water and sanitation. Today, many of them have built new houses with the compensation money, but the houses are empty and lifeless shells because there is no work around. "Unemployment is our main problem," said witness after witness at a public meeting held there late at night. There was an overwhelming sense of betrayal in the audience, as the rosy promises made at the time of displacment turned out to be empty.

After the Bhopal convention on 27 May (convened by Jan Sangharsh Morcha), the Yatra will be making stopovers in Hoshangabad and Betul. State conventions will be held in Nagpur (Maharashtra) on 30 May and in Raipur (Chhattisgarh) on 1 June. From there the Yatra will proceed towards Jharkhand via Bilaspur and Surguja.

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