The vulnerability of India’s 450 million informal workers has been exposed as the nation entered a 21-day lockdown in March. These men and women rely on their day-to-day earnings to support their families with little opportunity to save and no government welfare to support them. For these working people a 21-day lockdown presents them with a dire situation.
For over a decade our partners, the Tamil Nadu Labour Union have sought to improve job security, welfare and wages for informal workers in India. This has included helping thousands of union members get ID cards and registered with welfare boards, actions which mean they can now access free rice, dhal and a small cash payment to help them get through.
Like others the TNLU, staff are in lockdown but still doing what they can to advocate for more urgent government support for India’s working poor. TNLU President said that some groups like the Tribal and Gypsy people who are part of their co-operatives are not able to access the government support so the TNLU is preparing to provide them with emergency rice supplies as soon as the lockdown is lifted.