Protest by Construction Workers at Bhagalpur Labour Office

Hundreds of workers under the banner of Bihar State Construction Mazdoor Union, All India Construction Workers Federation and AICCTU marched to the Deputy Labour Commissioner's office in Bihar on March 14, in protest against the rampant corruption in the Labour department and demanding immediate government support for online membership for the Construction Workers Welfare Board. 

Addressing the protest, AICWF National General Secretary SK Sharma said that workers had been facing severe corruption at the labour office, and we demand immediate action against such officers. He said workers will not tolerate siphoning of their hard-earned money and social security benefits. 

He further added said that on one hand, the anti-labour Modi government is conspiring to destroy the social security of the workers through four labour codes, and on the other hand, the Labour department in nexus with the middlemen and brokers are taking away the rights and entitlements of the workers. 

The protest also called for an end to the ongoing attack on labour rights and trade unions. Mukesh Mukt, State Assistant District Secretary of Bihar State Construction Workers Union and AICCTU, added that the process of registration of workers in the Construction workers Welfare Board has been made increasingly complicated. Workers are facing troubled to avail the online member process and the department does not take their problems seriously. 

To avail social security benefits, workers are made to run pillar to post for years. All these hurdles are being deliberately created to force workers to forgo their benefits. The government has not made any arrangement in the labour office to support workers in the online membership process. Unable to find any support, the workers are forced to approach brokers and middlemen, who in collusion with members of the labour office run a big corruption racket extracting money from workers. 

Earlier on December 30, 2023, the construction workers had organised a protest at the Labour office in Patna against the cancellation of construction workers' welfare board registrations and the difficulties faced by the workers in the online filing process. Despite this, the labour department continues, and the government continues to ignore their plight.