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Apprenticeship, social security key agendas before 110th ILC- Mrit News

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The 110 th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) will launch the first round of discussions on setting standards for apprenticeships. India is sending three delegations on behalf of the Government, employers and employees to participate in various group meetings of the ILC, beginning on Sunday at the headquarters of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva.

The ILC will have a recurrent discussion as a follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation. “This recurrent discussion is being held after the COVID-19 outbreak, when other crises along with it are affecting labour market outcomes, while challenges like informality, low productivity, inequalities and discrimination persist. The report submitted to the Conference for this discussion sets the framework for inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery processes as called for in the call to action and sustainable structural transformation processes towards greener, fairer, more inclusive and more resilient economies and successful and equitable transitions of workers towards a better future of work as called for in the ILO Centenary Declaration,” an ILO statement said.

Another key item in the meeting is the first discussion on setting standards for apprenticeships. The ILO says that several countries face challenges in establishing or expanding quality apprenticeships. “There would be value in the ILO providing a comprehensive normative framework to Member States regarding how best to address those matters and unlock the potential benefits of an effective and well-functioning apprenticeship system,” the agenda of the ILC says.

The delegation representing the workers in India has decided to raise in the meeting that apprenticeship should not be allowed to be used as a tool for exploitation. “In India, there are complaints that even public sector considers apprenticeship as cheap employment,” said the official delegate on behalf of Indian trade unions and BMS general secretary Binoy Kumar Sinha. BMS, as the largest trade union in the country, will be the official delegate in the session, while representatives from CITU, HMS, AITUC and Sewa will participate as advisors. Mr. Sinha said that the thrust will be on social security and employment generation.

The World Federation of Trade Unions, in which CITU and AITUC are partners, will also meet on the sidelines of the ILC to chart the workers’ perspective during the meeting. “It is a crucial meeting for the workers. We will hold discussions with other workers of the member countries so that a joint stand could be taken that will be beneficial for the workers in India too,” said R. Karumaliyan of the CITU, who is participating in the ILC as an advisor.

The employers too have suggestions on the agenda. “We are yet to see what are the concrete suggestions of the ILO. But our submission is that the version of job creators and entrepreneurs should also be heard by the ILO. MSMEs are the largest job providers in India. We will raise our issues during the discussions,” said Anju Bajaj, secretary of Laghu Udyog Bharti, who will represent Indian employers in the ILC.

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