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BMS says UP, MP govt moves violate ILO rules; TMC fears Centre mulling similar action

"There is already very poor enforcement of labour laws in India, and even those are being suspended and withdrawn. This is very inappropriate and we can't endorse it," says BMS General Secretary Virjesh Upadhyay

Nirbhay Kumar | May 8, 2020 | Updated 13:40 IST
BMS says UP, MP govt moves violate ILO rules; TMC fears Centre mulling similar action
The UP government on Thursday decided to keep all labour laws, except three, in abeyance for three years

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • BJP-ruled UP and MP governments have proposed to suspend most labour laws for three years to promote investments in the states
  • RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) says Yogi government move on labour laws violates ILO convention
  • BMS to hold a meeting of central office bearers to discuss protest strategy
  • The ordinance in UP seeks to put on hold all labour laws pertaining to labour unions, working conditions, work disputes, and other issues
  • Central government is also planning labour law reforms on similar lines, warns TMC Rajya Sabha MP Dola Sen

RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) plans to stage protests after Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments abolished labour laws to revive industries amid coronavirus outbreak. BMS has said the state governments' move violate the principles of International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention. BMS will hold an emergency meeting of its central leadership to chart out a protest strategy.

BMS General Secretary Virjesh Upadhyay told BusinessToday.In that the meeting could be held Friday evening or on Saturday. Upadhyay said BMS does not approve of the state governments' decision and will work on an action plan to oppose the move. "There is already very poor enforcement of labour laws In India, and even those are being suspended and withdrawn. This is very inappropriate and we can't endorse it," Upadhyay said.

Also read: Country needs to know when lockdown will be lifted; it's not on, off switch: Rahul tells govt

He said that a meeting of BMS's national office bearers has been called to discuss the decisions taken by state governments in UP, MP and Gujarat. On the possible impact of the decisions to put labour laws in abeyance, the BMS leader said it may have "notional impact" given that enforcement is very poor in the country. He said that job market was volatile and people were forced to resign and leave on the same day.

Uttar Pradesh cabinet on Thursday approved the 'Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Laws Ordinance, 2020' to relieve factories and establishments from most labour laws, barring four, for a period of three years. The ordinance puts on hold all labour laws pertaining to labour unions, working conditions, work disputes, and other issues.

Once the ordinance gets all necessary approvals, only the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996, Workmen Compensation Act, 1923, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 and Section 5 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 (the right to receive timely wages), will be in force in the state. The MP government also plans to substantially relax labour laws. It has proposed raising the labour strength criteria for registration to 50 from 10 now for units run on power by amending the Factory Act. It has sent recommendations to the central government.

Also read: UP allows industry to hire and fire! Suspends all labour laws, except three

"With a view to inviting new industries and investors in the next 1,000 days in the state, all the provisions except Section 25 of the Industrial Disputes Act have been relaxed. Now industry owners will be able to select workers as per their convenience," an official statement said. "In industries where less than 100 labourers work, exemptions have been given from the provisions of Madhya Pradesh Industrial Employment (Permanent Order) Act. Now most of our MSME industries will be able to hire labourers as per their requirement to increase their productivity," it added.

Both UP and MP governments said that the decisions were aimed at giving a fillip to industry and creating more jobs. But BMS says that the argument put forward by state governments that suspending labour laws will create more jobs is not correct. Meanwhile, the Modi government at centre is also working on major labour law reforms. But the road to reforms may not be easy. Opposition leaders and trade unions are set to aggressively oppose the government on this sensitive issue.

TMC Rajya Sabha MP Dola Sen told BusinessToday.In that she had received a communication from a parliamentary panel on labour for suggestions on amending the labour law. "Regarding the labour law amendment, they (House panel Chairman) have sent their proposal through mail and they expected me to give my opinion. I have denied (to give my opinion)," the TMC leader said.

Asked about the nature of proposed amendments, Dola Sen said that they all were on the lines of what Yogi Adityanath government had done in UP. Sen added she plans to plans to oppose the move and take on Modi government after nationwide lockdown is lifted.

Also read: Lockdown 3.0: After UP, MP, other states relax labour laws to pump up industrial activity

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