Jun 24, 2014

Centre to hold meet on labour law reforms

Centre to hold meet on labour law reforms 

Ahead of the NDA government’s proposal to have industry-friendly labour laws, the Ministry of Labour has convened a meeting of labour union leaders on Tuesday.

Though the meeting, which will be chaired by Union Labour Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, the agenda just says to discuss issues related to labours. But sources told Deccan Herald that the meeting is mainly to gauge the mood of trade unions as the government wanted to bring major changes in existing labour laws.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) officials already held a discussion with the Ministry of Labour on bring amendments three major national act- Factories Act, Industrial Disputes Act, and the Contract Labour Act, which are identified as a constraint to expansion of investments in manufacturing sector in the country.

To begin with its exercise, the labour ministry had sought the suggestions from all stakeholders, including industries, trade unions and experts, on its proposal to amend the 66- year-old Factories Act.

As per the proposed amendment to the Factories Act, which has been pending since 2008—improved safety of workers; doubling the provision of overtime from 50 hours a quarter to 100 hours in some cases and from 75 hours to 125 hours in others involving work of public interest; increasing the penalty for violation of the Act; and reducing to 90 from 240 the number of days that an employee needs to work before becoming eligible for benefits like leave with pay.

On other laws, though the Centre has not spelt out the details where it wanted to bring modification, the government is expecting strong resistance from trade unions.

The previous UPA government did tried to bring amendments, but failed due to pressure from labour unions. Interestingly, BJP-led Rajasthan government already approved the amendments to these laws.

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