New Delhi, Apr 10 (UNI) It was a virtual war between capital and labour, with CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan taking on ASSOCHAM President V N Dhoot for the industry's plank on labour reforms, saying that workers were as much responsible for the prosperity in the country and accusing that protection to workers was sought to done away with in the name of reforms.
The platform was the ASSOCHAM House where Mr Bardhan was invited to release the chamber study entitled 'Labour reforms without tears.' Mr Bardhan spared no opportunity to attack industry for its anti-labour policies and throtlling the labour laws.
The 23-page report while opposing the hire and fire policy, calls for disciplining the labour, and seeks amendments to various laws to improve productivity. These include changes Industrial Disputes Act, the Factory Act 1948, The Contract Labour Act 1970, Payment of Bonus Act 1965 and The Industrial Employment Act 1945.
Mr Dhoot in his opening remarks spoke about the nine per cent GDP growth and the euphoria all over the globe about 'Brand India.' Mr Dhoot spoke about the wonderful times to come where labour and capital will partake in the larger economic cake and India would be the third largest economy in the world by 2020.
Stating that the workers all over the world had waged persistent struggles to attain eight hours of work a day, bonus, provident fund, health benefits from the government, pension and other benefits, Mr Bardhan urged the captains of industry not to lobby for abonding the labour laws.
Mr Bardhan, however, said there was need for codification of laws in view of their multiplicty and debunked the contents of the study, saying that safeugurads of the workforce cannot be done away even in the era of globalisation and liberalistaion of the Indian economy.
Mr Bardhan went to the extent of saying that he was the wrong person the ASSOCHAM had chosen to host as he had been a trade unionist for the last 68 years of his life.
He was a veteren who could not be taken in by the sophisticated but false contents of the study charging that reforms have benefitted only some big houses "whose number would be in the range of 535." Mr Bardhan referred to the close nexus between the government and big business, saying that the Indian State was willing to surrender the sovernigty and freedom to the West, especially the United States.
Mr Bardhan,however, said there was room for discussion on the defination of workmen, factory, wages and dearness allowance.
The CPI veteran also agreed that India had become a favoured destination for Foreign Direct Investment, but lameneted the growing divide between the rich and the poor.
Mr Dhoot, however, said that Mr Bardhan was the best person to have released the study and the chamber will continue the dialogue on labour issues with political and trade union leaders.
UNI KSA- GS PDT HT1632