Labourers’ protest, political risk likely reasons for change in stance
Somesh Jha | New Delhi Last Updated at December 7, 2017 19:33 IST
The Union government is likely to put its proposal to ease retrenchment norms, by allowing factories with a large workforce to hire and fire without seeking its permission, on the back burner.
“We are likely to maintain a status quo on the controversial labour law proposals, as trade unions are hell-bent that the retrenchment norms should not be touched. The government may also not be willing to take a political risk, especially after it has come under attack of the Opposition parties on demonetisation and the GST,” said a senior government official, on the condition of anonymity.
The Centre had proposed the Code on Industrial Relations Bill, allowing factories with up to 300 workers to retrench, lay-off or shut shop without seeking the government’s nod.
At present, factories with up to 100 workers can do so. It had also proposed increasing the severance pay for retrenched workers three times to 45 days’ salary for each completed year, from 15 days at present.
The proposed Bill will combine the Trade Unions Act, 1926, the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, into a single code.
Last month, 10 central trade unions jointly organised a three-day protest outside Parliament to press for their charter of demands and oppose the proposed labour reforms.
Government officials said since labour is a concurrent subject, where states can bring their own amendments with a final nod from the Centre, states would be pushed to come forward to undertake contentious labour law reforms.
Over the past few years, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra have allowed factories with 300 workers to retrench without official sanction. A proposal from the Assam government to change the law on similar lines is awaiting the Centre’s nod.
At present, at most five persons in the organised sector and half the office-bearers of a trade union in the unorganised sector can be outsiders. The central trade unions viewed this as an attack on the trade union movement and said that the government should not interfere in trade union composition.
However, the Centre may likely allow only two outsiders to become office-bearers of a trade union in organised sectors according to its fresh proposal, officials said.
First Published: Thu, December 07 2017. 19:32 IST