New Delhi, Aug 5 (UNI) Union Labour and Employment Minister Oscar Fernandes today called for labour laws that are "relief-oriented and worker-friendly", and said interest of the unorganised sector should be safeguarded at any cost as 94 per cent of the total workforce is employed in this sector only.
Inaugurating the All India Conference of the Chief Labour Commissioners and the Regional Labour Commissioners here, Mr Fernandes said the Labour Commissioners should undertake a crash programme to ensure payment of minimum wages and give tangible relief to workers.
He also announced that the Centre would issue a notification for minimum wages in respect of employment of sweeping, cleaning and watch and ward also shortly aimed at benefitting the sizeable number of workers engaged in the two employments.
Asserting on high level of compliance of labour standards, Mr Fernandes said efforts should be made to get the irregularities rectified by educating and persuading the employers.
He advised the officers that they should not restrict themselves to their conventional and traditional role but play a pro-active role as facilitator, advisor and guide to the employers, unions and workers so that there was a willing and voluntary compliance with the provisions of labour laws by the employers and at the same time the workers were made aware of their duties and responsibilities.
Pointing out that in the present scenario of globalisation no economy could function in isolation, he said several changes were taking place which were affecting the industries and workers alike.
"This, in fact, is the crucial phase of re-adjustment where our energy, resources and tact will be tested to the maximum.
Hence there is need to adapt the changes accordingly and make the labour administration more effective," he added.
Appreciating efforts in achieving settlement in recent industrial disputes, the minister said settlement in Neyveli Lignite Corporation which ensured a significant pay hike for more than 13,000 contract labour and other benefits, should be taken as a model.
The agenda for the two-day conference includes settlement of industrial disputes, enforcement of labour laws, implementation of awards and issues related welfare of the workers.
The conference is being attended by the chief Labour Commissioners and Regional Labour Commissioners of the country.
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