for building a democratic labour movement in India
Ashok Khandelwal: The implications of changes in the labour laws proposed by the state of Rajasthan; http://sanhati.com/excerpted/11037/#sthash.uiGYj8cC.dpuf
The Rajasthan state government has announced to amend five labour laws in favour of employers (See Table 1). As it is all the labour laws have been written from the employers’ point of view, yet five of them are now being further diluted. The number and money filters are common feature of most of our labour laws that deny benefits of the labour laws to a majority of the workers. Through the proposed amendments of the laws these filters are now further widened and deepened with the intent and purpose to deprive the benefits of these laws to more and a larger number of workers already employed and new set of workers.
The amendments also provide a clear message to employers that you can treat your workers as you want. To workers the message is clear that ‘submit to employers’ or ‘remain unemployed’. The workers are left with Hobson’s choice. Since they will have to work to survive they would have to serve the ‘maliks’ as per their dictates.
The proposed changes would lead to:
The labour laws are for the welfare of the laboring people. They are not only the result of the hard fought battle of the workers but also the Constitutional obligations of the welfare elected State. The Article 39 of Constitution of India enjoins the state to ensure “(c) that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment”. The proposed amendments and in fact entire thrust of the budget is going to violate this directive principle in the Constitutions.
The government of Rajasthan has introduced the amendments without giving any informed reasons for the need of such amendments. The likely impact of the measures on the workers and their rights has not been spelt out. The stated purpose is to increase employment and facilitate manufacturing. But the moot question is can we ignore the welfare of the labour.
It is interesting to note that the State government has shown tremendous enthusiasm and eagerness to take these anti-labour measures but has completely ignored their own state election promises outlined in the Manifesto released at the time of state election in late 2013 on page 44 to promote welfare of the unorganized labour. Of the several promises made therein like registration of workers, setting-up of a welfare board, increase in the pension from Rs 1000 to 1500, etc has not been even initiated and does not find any mention in the budget. But anti-labour blatantly pro-employer amendments have been articulated in Budget speech.
We therefore demand that:
|Table showing important changes in the labour laws|
|Sl No||Section||Existing Provision||New Provision||Remarks|
A: Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970
|1||Section 1 (4)||Applies to (i) establishments with 20 workers and (ii)contractors employing 20 or more workers||Would apply to those establishment and contractors who employ 50 or more workers||Filter number increased by two and half times to deprive benefits of provisions of act to many more workers|
B: Factories Act, 1948
|2||Section 2 Sub-clause (i) and (ii) of clause (m)||Applies to establishments employing 10 workers with power and 20 without power||Applying to establishments employing 20 workers with power and 40 workers without power||Filter number doubled to deprive benefits of provisions|
|3||Setion105 Sub-section (i)||Prosecution on violation by Inspector or his written consent||Cognizance of offence by a court on complaint by Inspector with written permission of State Government||Prosecution made more difficult- anti-worker and pro-employer measure|
|4||New provision-Section 106B||No provision for compounding of offence||Inspector can compound any punishable offence before or after institution of prosecution on payment of fine not more than prescribed.
On fine payment (i) no prosecution and if in custody will be set free
(ii) after institution of prosecution compounding would lead to acquittal of the offender
|(ii) Inspector can favour employer
(ii)Employers would be saved from prosecution on payment of small fine.
C: Industrial Disputes Act, 1948
|5||Section 2 Sub-clause (iii) of clause (g)||Employer is considered owner for employed contract workers||Deleted||Removed due to separate Act to regulate contract workers now.
A progressive amendment of 1958 stands withdrawn
|6||Section 2 Clause (s)||Expression “by an employer or by a contractor in relation to the execution of his contract with such employer”||Deleted|
|7||Section 2A (4)||New Addition||Introduces three year time bar for raising a dispute related to lay off, retrenchment and closure|
|8||Section 9D||Union with membership of 15% workers can get recognition||Increased to 30% workers in an enterprise||This amounts to infringement of TU rights|
|9||Section 25K||Chapter VB applicable to enterprises with 100 and more workers||Limit increased to 300 or more workers||Employers now can retrench workers without government permission in more enterprises. State protection stand removed.|
|10||Section 25N Clause (a) Sub-section (1)||Expression “; or the workman has been paid in lieu of such notice, wages for the period of the notice”||Deleted|
|11||Section 25N Clause (a) Sub-section (9)||New insertion||After expression, “six months” and before punctuation “, ”, insert “and an amount equivalent to his three months average pay”|
|12||Fifth Schedule after Para 5 of Part II||New Addition||Go slow has been defined as “any such activity by any number of persons, employed in any industry, acting in combination or with common understanding, to slow down or to delay the process of production or work purposely whether called by work to rule or by any other names, so as to fixed or average or normal level of production or work or output of workman or workmen of the establishment is not achieved”||This addition defines the ‘go slow’ in a very broad way which would now make the action against workers easy on any pretext. This leads to complete control over workers by the management in fixing and realization of production targets. This would lead to intensification of work and muffle any kind of protest.|