Who is Unorganized Labour ?
Unorganized Labour has been defined by the first National Commission on Labour (1966-69) as those who have not been able to organize themselves in pursuit of common objectives on account of constraints like casual nature of employment, ignorance & illiteracy, small and scattered size of establishments & position of power enjoyed by employers because of the nature of industry etc.
The 1991 Census has classified workers in this country into two distinct categories as main workers & marginal workers. The main workers are those workers who work for the major part of the year (296 days) and marginal workers are those who work for less than 6 months (180 days). Out of the total work force of 314 million in india, about 286 million (i.e. about 91%) were main workers and about 28 million (i.e.9%) were marginal workers. The date of the census of india has also shown that the majority of the working population is in the unorganized sector, i.e.91% of the total population and this workforce is as yet not actively unionized. The organized sector which generally exists around urban settlements accounts for only 9% of the total workforce.
As per the survey carried out by the National Sample Survey Organization in the year 1999-2000, the total employment in both organized & unorganized sector in the country was of the order of 39.7 crores i.e. 2.8 crore in the organized sector and the balance 36.9 crore (about 93%) in the unorganized sector. Out of 36.9 crore workers in the unorganized sector, there are 23.7 crore workers employed in agricultural sector, about 1.7 crore in construction work, 4.1 crore in manufacturing, 3.7 crore in transport, communication & services. The Census 2001 has estimated the number of workers in the country as 40.2 crores out of which 31.3 crore are main workers and 8.9 crore are marginal workers.
Generally, we can categorize unorganized workers under the following 4 classes:-
(1) In terms of occupation:
Small & marginal farmers, landless agricultural labours, share croppers, fishermen, those engaged in animal husbandry, in beedi rolling & beedi packing, building and other construction workers, leather workers, weavers, artisans, salt workers, workers in brick kilns & stone quarries, workers in saw mills, oil mills etc. may come in this category.
(2) In terms of nature of employment:
Attached agricultural labours, bonded labours, migrant workers, contract & casual labours come under this category.
(3) In terms of specially distressed categories:
Toddy tappers, scavengers, carriers of head loads, drivers of animal driven vehicles, loaders & un-loaders belong to this category.
(4) In terms of service categories:
Midwives, domestic workers, fishermen & women, barbers, vegetables & fruits vendors, newspaper vendors etc. come under this category.