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Address the Industrial safety crisis in India’s manufacturing sector - Letter to The Prime Minister Modi from IndustriALL Global Union (March 9, 2021)

11 March

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Mr. Narendra Modi
Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister’s Office
South Block, Raisina Hill,
New Delhi-110011 India
By e-mail pmo[at]gov.nic.in

IndustriALL Global Union calls upon the government of India to immediately address safety crisis in India’s manufacturing sector

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing this letter to you as General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, representing more than fifty million workers in the manufacturing, mining and energy sectors, in more than 140 countries worldwide, including in India, to reiterate our call to your government to take adequate safety measures of workers in Indian manufacturing facilities, particularly, but not exclusively, in the mining and chemical industries.

We are writing to you once again to highlight ongoing industrial safety crisis in India. We are concerned that the avoidable industrial accidents in India continue to kill and maim workers. Since May 2020, at least about 160 workers were killed and about 780 workers were in injured in 78 reported accidents.

These numbers are only based on mainstream media reports and few reports from our affiliates in India, however, the real numbers could be much higher. Within the first two months in 2021, we received reports of at least 14 accidents, including 8 accidents in mining industry and 3 in chemical industries in which 42 workers were killed and around 100 workers were seriously injured.

The terrifying reality is that these accidents indicates a pattern of safety failure. Few other reasons are breakdown of safety controls, negligence of safety rules, weak supervisory system, unsafe and irresponsible mining practices and engaging high number of untrained precarious workers. Earlier in June 2020, we urged your government to take immediate measures to protect workers’ lives and an urgent review of the adequacy of existing safety regulation, inspection and enforcement.

In addition, we also called for an immediate review of the Process Safety Management principles, and whether they are well integrated into India’s legislative and regulatory framework. We called on you to hold public consultations, ensure transparency and union participation in the decision making process. We reiterate our message and urge your government to take immediate steps and send a strong message across the country to improve occupational health and safety measures.

It is important to note that the Indian Government has not yet ratified many key ILO conventions on health and safety, including, Convention 155 on Occupational Safety and Health Convention from 1981, Convention 170 on Chemical Convention from 1990, and Convention 176 on and Safety and Health in Mines Convention from 1995. It is imperative that the government ratify these conventions.

Indian trade unions have raised many objections towards the recently passed Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020. Social dialogue and the participation of workers representatives are crucial for improving safety, and it is essential that trade union’s views be incorporated in safety legislations.

We reiterate that IndustriALL Global Union, along with its affiliates in India, is ready to work with your Government, employers, and all relevant stakeholders to safeguard the working conditions of the workers and society at large.We anticipate your swift action and response.

Yours sincerely,

Valter Sanches, General Secretary

Copy for information to:
Permanent Representative of India vis-à-vis the United Nations IndustriALL Global Union’s Indian affiliated trade unions

SEE ORIGINAL:

IndustriALL letter to Prime Minister of India - March 2021 [Original PDF]

P.S.

The above letter from IndustriALL Global Union is reproduced here in public interest and is for educational and non-commercial use