The LexGaze Weekly - HOPE

The Working People’s Charter

Sneha Chugh

Issue 2 | June 27, 2020

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic kicked in and the lockdown was imposed in India, (and even prior to that) the migrant workers have suffered tremendously. Be it walking for thousands of miles to return to their villages carrying their children on shoulders, losing their livelihood, loss of strength, and the will to live, dying on the footpaths due to fatigue and accidents or dying on railway tracks, the migrant workers have suffered it all. While the government was not able to do enough for them, there emerged a ray of hope for the migrant workers in society, an organization that came to their rescue. This week’s edition of the LexGaze Weekly brings to you the story of the ‘Working People’s Charter’ (WPC), a non-governmental organization based in Delhi that represents the aspirations and plights of millions of workers in the country.

The Working People’s Charter was formed in the year 2013 with a motive to bring together trade unions, organizations working with informal labour, activists, researchers, and lawyers. The Charter’s primary focus is to address and bring reforms in daily wages paid to the workers, issues pertaining to social security, forced labour and slavery, labour laws, fixed working hours, right and work and other such important matters. During the pandemic, the Working People’s Charter stepped up for the migrant workers and gave all of us hope.

When the workers were fired from their jobs and left stranded on streets with no money and food, the WPC took up the responsibility of distributing food and PPE kits. Not only that, but the Charter also educated the migrant workers on the do’s and don’ts during this pandemic and explained to them, the importance of social distancing during these difficult times. The organization has given hope to over 80,000 migrant workers across 20 states and has proved to be an inspiration for millions.

WPC has also taken the initiative to launch a global fundraising campaign for the migrant workers. Through the campaign, they are requesting people to donate their one day’s salary to improve the living conditions of the migrant workers that have been adversely affected during the time of corona virus. They are actively participating in the prevention of spreading of the virus to the migrant worker’s community and trying to protect the workers from falling below the poverty line. Also, the organization has issued a statement addressing the plight of the migrant workers during these tough times and has urged the government to create an emergency fund of Rupees 50,000 for the migrant workers as economic support. LexGaze is immensely proud of the work and the initiatives that have been taken up by the Working People’s Charter. We, at LexGaze, also hope that this story will motivate our readers to contribute to the betterment of the migrant workers in whatever way possible.

“We too must not waver, not get encumbered by old ways and old frameworks of thinking, and act rapidly and decisively before it is too late.”

- Statement made by the WPC.

LexGaze Hope Plus

1. Sonu Sood

This reel-life hero has proved to be a real-life hero for the migrant workers. He has given hope to thousands of migrant workers by helping them reunite with their families.

2. The Hon’ble Supreme Court ordered the withdrawal of police complaints filed against the migrant workers for violating the lockdown norms by travelling and has ordered for Shramik Special Trains by the Railways.

3. Migrant workers travelling on foot during the lockdown were taken to shelter homes at various places.

4. The Alumni Association on National Law School, Bangalore arranged a flight for 177 migrant workers to travel from Mumbai to Ranchi.

5. The Alumni Associations of NLSIU and NALSAR came together and arranged two flights to help ferry 274 migrant workers from Bangalore to 13 districts of Chhattisgarh. Such initiatives show us the power of the collective and give us hope in trying times.

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