Why the controversy over Modi govt's proposed changes in Labour Law of India: Explained

Bengaluru, May 4: Trade unions across India are upset with Prime Minister Narendra Modi government's new proposals to bring changes in the existing labour law of the country.

The new proposals created a lot of controversies in the country as trade unions have been planning to protest against the proposed law.

Labour Law of India

The NDA govt proposed to integrate the 3 labour laws into a single code. The three laws are -- Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.

What are the new changes in the proposed labour law?

  • If staff strength of a company is up to 300, then the firm can fire its employee(s) without any prior notice
  • The proposed law will also make it tougher to form workers unions
  • At least 10% of the employees or 100 workers are required for registering a trade union
  • Only employees of an organisation can form unions
  • 2 outside officials can become members of a union if its an unorganised sector
  • If an employee works for the organisation for more than 1 year then he/she will get a 3 months of notice in case there is a plan for retrenchment
  • However, the above mentioned rule will not be applicable for organisations such as undertaking set up for the construction of buildings, bridges, roads, canals, dams or for other construction work.

Difference between existing and proposed changes in labour law:

  • Now, firms with 100 or more workers are required to seek government's permission for retrenchment under the Industrial Dispute Act
  • At present, any 7 or more members of a trade union can apply for registration of the Trade Union regardless of the size of the firm

Significant trade unions which are protesting against the proposals:

  • BJP-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS)
  • Hind Mazdoor Sabha
  • All India Trade Union Congress Secretary and many others

What are the protesters saying?

  • The government cannot make law stringent for forming trade unions
  • We will protest against this provision under which firms will not have to take prior permission for retrenchment under draft Labour Code on Industrial Relation Bill 2015

Suggestion from the protesters to the Modi govt:

All trade union members suggested that government should constitute a tripartite committee with employees' and employers' representative on board along experts to study the bill in detail before firming up the draft bill.

What's the govt saying?

  • The proposed Bill is not anti-workers
  • A proposal has been made to increase compensation for workers in certain cases of a job loss
  • Employees will get 45 days' pay
  • At present, workers get payment of 15 days in such case

Changes proposed in Child labour law:

  • Modi-led NDA govt has made proposal to amend the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986
  • If amended, children between 14 years and 18 years will be permitted to work
  • Children under the above mentioned age bracket can work in non-hazardous, select family enterprises

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