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Toll- Free Labour Helpline

14 September 2016 Share: facebook share twitter share

Case study 1: On 14th September 2016, the Toll-Free Labour Helpline in Jharkhand received a complaint about a girl around eight years of age. The girl was employed as a domestic servant at the Block Development Officer’s (BDO) house in Kudu block since one year. The complainant reported that the girl was frequently beaten by the BDO’s wife and had visible marks of the beating.

The Toll-Free Labour Helpline team immediately swung in action, and mailed a grievance to the District Labour Superintendent. The case was also shared with the Secretary, Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare (BOCWW) Board, Jharkhand and District Labour Commissioner, Ranchi. Immediate action was taken on the case. A high level task force was formed which raided the BDO’s residence. The girl was rescued, handed over to Child Welfare Committee and later sent to her parents’ home in Angara, Tathi, Ranchi. Her employer was punished and was suspended from his job by the Honourable Chief Minister of the state. Further a FIR was lodged against the BDO and a fine of Rs 20,000/- was imposed on him.

Case Study 2:  Ranjeet Kumar, an employee of Usha Martin Limited in Saraikela-Kharshawa, Jharkhand became disabled after a road accident in 2013. Consequently, he was unable to earn and had difficulties in meeting the costs of his treatment. He applied several times to the Employee’s State Insurance Corporation (ESI) for his further treatment, but the company gave no response. Desperate and frustrated he called up the Toll-Free Labour Helpline as a last resort on 19 May 2016.

The helpline team sent his complaint to the Labour Superintendent and Factory Inspector of East Singbhum on 26th May 2016. An ecstatic Mr. Ranjeet called on 28th May 2016 to report that following the complaint, the Labour superintendent of Jamshedpur had come to meet him, and solved his grievance.

The Toll Free Labour Helpline
Since the time it has been set up the Toll-Free Labour Helpline has been abuzz with phone calls from distressed workers like Ranjeet who have failed to get any response from the government despite repeated complaints, or Samaritans like the anonymous caller who helped in rescuing the young girl employed as a domestic servant.

The Helpline launched the Department of Labour, Employment Training and Skill Development on 1st May 2016 is housed in the premises of and is managed by PACS under Phia Foundation. The Helpline is part of the endeavors of the Department to protect the interests of its working class in the organised and unorganised sectors, to effectively implement various labour laws, and to produce trained man power.

Objectives of the Helpline
The Helpline, aims to enhance the access of the workers (organized/ unorganized) to labour welfare schemes and programmes. It functions as a link between the Department and the labour force of Jharkhand, specifically those from the marginalised sections- workforce in the unorganized sector, child labourers, migrant workers, building and other construction workers.

Stepwise Process of enquiry /grievance redressal
In order to ensure prompt redressal of grievances and complaints the Helpline follows a systematic process of registering and follow-up of the complaints. Callers can call the toll-free labour helpline number 18003456526 at a scheduled time (from 10 AM to 6 PM).The Helpline Co-coordinator provides information, guidance and support to the caller. If the caller has a grievance, s/he is given a complain ID and asked to call after a week. The Helpline manager conducts regular follow-up of the complaint with concerned officers. On redressal of the complaint the Labour Helpline receives an email from the concerned officer, and caller is informed. Details on the resolution of the grievance are updated against the unique complaint ID of the caller in MIS data base

A total of 1892 calls were received and 253 grievances were registered by the Helpline till October 2016. 38% of these grievances were resolved. The Helpline team has been following –up intensely with the concerned officials to resolve the other grievances.
One of the critical roles of the Helpline has been the rescue of child labourers like the girl child who was employed in the BDO’s house. On the basis of a complaint by an anonymous caller, six children under the age of 14 years were rescued from a chowmein factory by a Task Force headed by the Labour Department. Similarly, following a complaint registered by a caller from Dhanbad a child in the age range of 10-12 years was rescued from a wholesale shop in Bakarihaat Area, Jhariya.
Overall, the Helpline serves as an important information and grievance redressal source for the poor, unskilled migrant workers in the state. The Helpline not only apprises this labour segment on the various social security schemes, rights and entitlements, but also facilitates their access to various entitlements.

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