Labour Ministry calls trade unions to discuss draft industrial code

New Delhi(PTI): The Labour Ministry has called central trade unions for tripartite consultations next week on draft Industrial Code which proposes allowing companies employing up to 300 workers to lay off staff without government permission, among other provisions.

Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya
Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya

“They have called trade unions to discuss the revised draft Code on Industrial Relations on October 6. But they have not changed the provision allowing firms with up to 300 workers to go for closure, lay off and retrenchment without official sanction,” All India Trade Union Congress Secretary D L Sachdev told PTI.

At present, industries hiring up to 100 workers are allowed to lay off without permission. It had also proposed to make it tough to form unions and restrict outsiders to become unions’ office bearers.

“Now the revised draft does not have any provision to make it tough to form unions. As per unions’ demand, it has inserted provisions related to recognition of unions which was our long pending demand,” Sachdev said.

The meeting will be chaired by Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya.

The bill combines Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.

The provision relating to easing retrenchment, lay off and closure norms and tougher rules for forming unions in the proposed bill led to uproar by central trade unions. They went on nationwide strike on September 2 to protest against proposed amendments to labour laws.

Sachdev said that central trade unions met yesterday and asked the government to resume talks on various issues particularly with a ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The BJP-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) did not attend the meeting yesterday, he said. BMS had opted out of the strike on September 2 saying government should be given at least six months to fulfill its assurances.

Government had hinted at meeting workers’ “aspirations” on nine out of 12 demands of central trade unions on September 2.

The Labour Ministry is working on to rationalise the provision of the 44 labour laws in 4-5 codes.

At present the ministry is working on codes on wages, industrial relations, social security & welfare and safety & working conditions.