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Law for workers in unorganised sector: Labour Minister

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Aug 23: The Government will soon convene a conference of state labour ministers to discuss the violations of various labour laws and bring in a legislation on the social security of workers in the unorganised sector, Minister of State for Labour Chandra Sekhar Sahu assured the Lok Sabha today, amid walk-out by the Left parties.

Before convening the conference, the government will call a meeting of trade union leaders to take their views on the labour laws and finalise the agenda, Mr Sahu said, replying to the calling attention motion on the issue, moved by Mr Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI), Mr Basudeb Acharia, Mr Amitava Nandy and Mr Sunil Khan (all CPI-M).

Mr Sahu, who was replying in the absence of Labour Minister K Chandrashekar Rao who is on a fast over the Telangana issue, said the recommendations of the Arjun Sengupta Committee was under the consideration of the government.

He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his recent meeting, had assured the trade union leaders that the government will bring in a legislation on the social security of unorganised workers.

Mr Sahu said a committee of secretaries was looking into the issue. A Group of Ministers (GoM) was also formed on it.

However, dissatisfied with the Minister's reply, the Left parties staged a walk-out.

Earlier, moving the motion, Mr Dasgupta said the discussion was being held under the shadow of the resignation of the Labour Minister who is on a hunger strike. Mr Dasgupta said the exploitation of the workers had intensified following the liberalisation policies adopted by the present and the previous governments.

The government's quest for flexibility in labour laws, he said, was intended to give the employers power of reckless hire and fire of workers.

He said the condition of unorganised workers was pitiable.

Provident fund and minimun wages were being denied to contract workers even in public sector undertakings.

The payment of dearness allowance was also being violated in most of the cases.

He said though the corporate profits had increased over the years, the real wages had gone down, working conditions had worsened and the violation of labour laws increased.

He wanted to know when the government was convening a conference of state labour ministers, and constituting labour laws for the unorganised and the agricultural sector.

Mr Acharia said the situation was alarming as the violation of minimum wage-related statutes and the intensity of exploitation of unorgansied workers were more acute than they were apparent.

Mr Khan said certain PSUs had not paid interest on provident funds for number of years.


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