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Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar assures trade unions to address concerns over new labour codes

Labour unions have opposed new rule which allows companies with upto 300 employees to lay-off staff and close the firm without government approval. The threshold for this was 100 employees earlier

Nirbhay Kumar | September 29, 2020 | Updated 18:09 IST
Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar assures trade unions to address concerns over new labour codes
Union Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Union Labour Minister Gangwar says concerns of unions would be addressed while framing rules under the newly-enacted three Codes
  • The Codes and rules are likely to be notified by December-end
  • RSS-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh has said that the newly-enacted Labour Codes are an attempt to diminish the role of trade unions
  • The Parliament passed the three Labour Codes last week effecting long-pending labour reforms. Code on Wages had been approved last year

Amidst claims of newly-enacted labour laws tilted in favour of companies, Union Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar has stated that government will address concerns of unions while framing the rules.

"We would soon start work on framing rules and want the exercise to be completed by December. Whatever needed to be done will be done while framing the rules. The unions would also be satisfied," Gangwar told BusinessToday.In.

Various labour unions including RSS-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) have expressed concerns over increasing the threshold of workers from 100 to 300 for retrenchment, lay-off and closure without the need for prior government approval.

ALSO READ: Rebooting Economy 32: Wage code leaves millions of workers out in cold

In their response to various changes in labour laws, the BMS has said that the newly-enacted Labour Codes are an attempt to diminish the role of trade unions. The Labour Ministry has, however, refuted the apprehensions raised by the unions.

On the key issue of increased worker threshold, the Ministry has said that it is only the aspect of prior permission of the appropriate government which has been removed and other benefits and workers' rights have been kept intact.

The Ministry has underlined that Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee had also recommended increase in threshold from 100 workers to 300 workers for seeking prior permission for retrenchment, lay-off and closure.

"We had sent the bills to Standing Committee and held complete discussion. Then it was put in public domain and comments were sought. The laws are very balanced and good for both employers and employees," Gangwar said.

ALSO READ: Govt to implement all 4 labour codes in one go by December: Gangwar

The Parliament passed the three Labour Codes last week effecting long-pending labour reforms. With this, 29 various labour laws have been condensed and consolidated into four Labour Codes -- Code on Wages, Industrial Relations (IR) Code, Code on Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions Code (OSH) and Social Security Code.  The Code on Wages had been cleared by Parliament last year. The Centre has already repealed 12 labour laws since 2014.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha on the three Codes last week, Minister Gangwar had said that the entire work force of the country will now be entitled for obtaining benefits under different codes.

While industry has welcomed the labour law reforms that would make hiring and firing easy, a section of experts have argued it will make future uncertain for the employees.

Some of the experts, however, disagree with the view saying millennials prefer easy and flexible employment terms so that they can switch from one job to the other without any hassles.

Notably, the Social Security Code has widened social security net covering unorganised workers and gig workers. For the first time, a fixed term employee working for a certain period on contract has been given the right of social security like a regular employee.

ALSO READ: India Inc. loves new labour codes; experts say they will promote 'ease of closing business'

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