|YCW India is fighting for the unemployed|
Whether at district level where it opposes the government policies or giants like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, or at national level where it demands 100 days of work for at least one person per family, YCW India is fighting with the unemployed for their survival and their dignity.
A struggle for the reinstatement of 10,000 dismissed road construction workersIn one district where the YCW is present, one signature was enough for the previous government to dismiss more than 10,000 road construction workers. The YCW immediately made common cause with the workers in the district to carry out a campaign for their rehiring and the hiring of other unemployed workers to fill the vacancies. The YCW launched a postcard signature campaign to raise awareness about the issue and to put pressure on the government.
At the same time, the YCW organized a training session for its members about the dismissals and their rights.
Right before the end of its term, the previous government announced the reinstatement of the dismissed workers and the current government seems to make efforts to hire other workers to fill the vacancies.
An action against Coca-Cola and Pepsi who are destroying local jobs and endangering the environmentWhen Coca-Cola and Pepsi first built their factories in India, the local soft drink companies had to close down as they were unable to compete with those two giants.
In addition to that, the new plants of those multinational corporations are a major environmental threat. They use huge pumps to extract water in such quantity that the water table level below ground has sunk considerably, and as a result, farmers no longer have enough water.
The YCW analyzed the issue and found out that if the government stopped those corporations, local companies could start again and create up to 50,000 jobs. The YCW launched a poster campaign denouncing the negative impact of the presence of the two soft drink giants, and it organized demonstrations at district level. A memorandum was sent to the local government demanding the closing-down of those two companies.
In the YCW groups, members no longer drink cola and an awareness-raising campaign, including through posters, led to a decrease in sales of those soft drinks in the whole district. Even the bishopric followed suit, offering now only local fruit drinks to their guests.
At national level, the presence of unauthorized quantities of pesticides was found in the drinks of those two multinational corporations, fuelling a large debate throughout the country.
100 days of work for at least one person per family in all districtsThe YCW carried out an analysis and facts are clear. In India, 22% of young people are jobless. Most local governments have no unemployment schemes allowing the unemployed to receive benefits which would cover, for instance, medical care. In rural areas, a person needs a minimum of INR 450 per month just for food; in the city, INR 580 is a minimum.
The YCW believes that if the “100 days of work” became a reality, they could guarantee these amounts of money.
India has adopted the “100 days of work” policy, under which one member from each household should be guaranteed 100 days of work each year in all districts. However, this policy has only been applied in 200 districts out of the 604 districts in the whole country.
Causes and consequences of unemploymentIn India, the right to work does not exist. Government policies do not create jobs and the government itself does not hire enough people to fill all the vacancies in the public sector.
The economy of the country is very unstable and factories can close down at any time, which increases unemployment even more.
Temporary work keeps on growing; many people work for three months, then they are unemployed again.
Young people are disillusioned. They complain: “All of us studied but none of us got a job corresponding to our studies.”
Unemployed people rely on other members of their families and they cannot plan their future, get married, etc. Sometimes, they do not even have the right to speak in public.
Some people who remain without work for longer periods join extremist groups because their statements are appealing and they get money from them.
Some young people become antisocial, mentally sick, or even develop suicidal tendencies. Because of the high unemployment rate and competition for jobs, corruption is increasing.
The YCW is taking action and getting results!In the face of the situation, YCW India has decided to take action. Its short-term objective is to obtain 100 days of work for at least one member of each family in all districts, as well as unemployment benefits for the jobless.
In 2006, in order to support its lobbying with the Ministry of Labour in Delhi, the YCW launched a signature campaign demanding the 100 days of work in all districts, equal wages for men and women, as well as the creation of monitoring bodies to check whether the 100 days policy is implemented.
There are already visible results. The 100 days principle has been extended to another 130 districts. Instruction was given to set up monitoring bodies. A “Minimum Wage Act” is also implemented for the unemployed. In Tamil Nadu for instance, the unemployed who finished their primary school can get INR 150 per month in social benefits, those who finished their secondary education get INR 200, and university graduates get INR 300. The condition is to be registered with the employment office for at least 5 years.
But YCW India will not stop here. In the long term, its objective is to have the right to work enshrined as a fundamental right.
Newer news items: