The three-day International Labour Conclave concluded here on Friday with the declaration that labour rights are an essential element of the struggle for social and economic justice and social progress.
Inaugurating the closing session, Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal said that Kerala has already devised activities and plans to enable the workers to develop the skills required to meet the challenges and opportunities created by the digital technology revolution and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in traditional employment sectors. He said that along with the skill development of workers, the government is also ensuring the creation of a suitable work environment in collaboration with educational institutions and industries.
Labour Minister V. Sivankutty, who presided over the function, said that Kerala always stands for protecting the rights and welfare of all workers. The government will examine how the ideas emerging from this conclave can be implemented by giving priority to inclusive social protection measures and protection of workers’ rights. The Minister said that many valuable ideas came up at the conclave, which will be useful in policy formulation.
Cooperation with ILO
Mr. Sivankutty presented the conclave declaration, which weaves in many of the ideas and suggestions that came up during the discussions. The declaration says that Kerala has always upheld the values and principles put forward by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and expresses hope for continued cooperation with the ILO. Workers’ rights should be part of the public debate. Kerala’s development path is distinguished by its care and protection for all people irrespective of gender, caste, religion and social class. The aim is to ensure that no individual is left behind in the path of progress.
The conclave observed that the Union government’s labour codes curtail the rights of workers won through struggles and court judgments. Care scheme workers should be paid fairly.
Kerala will take up the issues faced by gig platform workers at the national level to ensure an all-India framework for protecting their rights and ensuring decent working conditions. In order to protect the rights and livelihood of migrant workers, the details of migration and migrant workers should be subjected to statistical study.
The declaration put forward the need for scientific statistics to ensure the social and economic progress of the working class. Planning Board Vice Chairman V.K. Ramachandran, Planning and Economic Board Additional Chief Secretary Puneeth Kumar, Labour Secretary Ajith Kumar, Labour Commissioner K. Vasuki and Employment Director Veena Madhavan were present.