Modernization and urbanization have paved a good way to the construction industry. Small towns and cities become more urbanized, and due to this, the construction sector too have got a boost. Apart from traditional urban centres, new industrial centres have appeared on the map where construction works are going on on a large scale. Expanding and fast-growing construction sector and, in general, lack of greater employment opportunity elsewhere has drawn a large number of workers in this sector.
Who Is A Construction Labour?
A person employed in the physical construction of infrastructure is known as construction labour. Most construction workers are primarily described by the type of work they do. The division of labours encompasses a diverse range of skilled and unskilled labours. The most common construction trades are those of carpenter, electrician, heavy equipment operator, plumber, plasterer, mason, welder, etc.
Migration becomes a way of life to many who are unskilled and semi-skilled and find difficult to get better jobs within their natives and locality. These migrant workers are spread across the countries. Construction labours are those who are migrated from different regions and states leaving their native places in search of a daily job. They travel from one area of work to another area along with their families and live in a place, which is either provided by the owner of the construction company or somewhere nearby, building temporary shelters. They have maximum mobility because of the nature of their work.
Problems Faced by Construction Labours
The construction labours lose in bargaining for fair wages as they are part of the unorganized sector. They are not paid minimum wages; even the agreed wages are sometimes not paid in time. Even after the construction work is over, substantial due remains with the builders or the contractors, who are always on the look for devouring these due wages.
- Their working time and hours are not well regulated. They do not get overtime rates for excess work. They work under very hazardous conditions. The working conditions and the facilities provided at the sites are far from satisfactory. Safety conditions and measures are hardly met. In case of an accident, there is, in general, no provision for financial and medical aid. There is no scheme like ESI coverage for them. In the extreme cases like death, nobody owns the responsibility.
- Apart from these, there are no recreational facilities, no availability of drinking water, toilets, canteens etc.
- If the construction labours are female, the problems at the work site and while travelling gets multiplied, more if they are pregnant or have small children. There is no system at all to take care of these children at the work site. And they just cannot take leave out of work during this period lest they face extreme financial problems.
- The living conditions are no way better than the working conditions. They are destined to live in slums where one does not get proper civic amenities. The surroundings are totally unhygienic. There are no proper facilities for drainage, toilet, potable water, electricity, recreation etc. There are no local medical facilities, hospital, school and fair price shop.
Steps to Be Taken:
- Investigate the abuse and exploitation of construction labours by agents and employers and prosecute such agents and employers.
- Create awareness of construction labourer’s rights.
- Ensuring decent working conditions and proper contract systems and providing basic health care for them.
- Proper intervention from the government authorities and effective implementation of the labour laws required to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the construction labourers.
- Organize public medical camps at constructions sites.
- Constant inspection from the government part is required to reduce the plight of the construction labourers.
- Ensure adequate insurance facilities for the construction labours.
The construction labours play a very important role in every aspect of building a home. Giving them a good stay, food and protection are essential. They must be provided all the basic facilities so that these people have the utmost security for their lives, which has to be valued.