Construction workers demand full GST waiver; seek social security

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Several thousand construction workers, under the banner of Construction Worker Federation of India, marched to Parliament demanding among other things the complete waiver of GST on construction materials and works. Representatives of the CWFI met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and demanded that the merger of Building and Other Construction Workers Act in the proposed labour code on social security must be dropped. The workers said they need pension, and support such as accident compensation, housing loan, maternity, education and healthcare benets. CFIW general secretary V Sasikumar told BusinessLine that the Centre is neglecting the sector that gives employment to about ve crore people. “After demonetisation and the slow down that followed, about 25 percent of the people employed in this sector lost their jobs. Most of these people were agriculture workers and they came to this sector after the crisis in rural and agriculture sectors. Now, the policies of this Government have put them in crisis,” Sasikumar said.

CWFI claims that it is one of the largest trade union of construction workers in the country with more than one million members. He said if the labour code is implemented whatever little social security provided by the Centre and State governments to construction workers will also be stopped. “They plan to stop nancial assistance provided to welfare boards. The purpose of the Labour Code is that,” he said.

The CFIW has also demanded that GST should be scrapped so that the sector can survive amid the slowdown. Sasikumar said the memorandum has signatures of about one crore construction workers from around the country. “We are a pan Indian trade union with more than one million construction workers as members. We have been campaigning among them against the Labour Codes. We met the Speaker and demanded that the Parliament should not allow the passage of Labour Codes which will harm crores of people in the country,” Sasikumar added.

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