Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has conveyed to the Government its serious objections on some of the provisions of Labour Codes, which are to be rectified before they are placed before cabinet or sent to parliament, said Saji Narayanan C.K, President, BMS.
BMS urged the Government that any exercise in shaping the destiny of the nation should not be done casually without considering the far-reaching ill effects. “Spirit of synergy as proclaimed by the Prime Minster should not be lost while reforming labour laws. Out of the four Labour Codes, “Labour Code on Wages” and “Labour Code on Social Security” have been hailed by BMS as historic and revolutionary, since for the first time the last worker in the country will be benefitted by them. At present only 7% of the total working population has any benefit like minimum wages or social security coverage,” a statement issued by Saji Narayanan said.
“After consultation, the Labour Code on wages was already sent to parliament, but was stuck before the Parliamentary standing committee on labour. After discussing with trade Unions, the committee has cleared the bill. BMS wants the Labour Code on wages Bill to be passed in the Parliament at the earliest,” the statement further added.
Regarding the first two drafts of the Labour Code on Social Security brought for consultation, BMS has objected some of the provisions as anti worker during consultation. The third draft was totally rejected by all the trade unions and asked the Ministry of Labour to redraft the second draft considering the objections. Major objections are as follows:- ESI, EPF and other six central welfare schemes which are working well at present, should not be dismantled and merged with the new unorganised sector scheme and fund, because the ESI and EPF amounts will be depleted easily within a short time. Government should subsidise social security for the unorganised sector. BMS also has opposed privatisation of huge social security fund, because MNC insurance and PF companies will siphon the funds to risky share market and also towards their high premium and service charges. The Code also reduces trade union representation to a mere formality in the apex Council which is filled with bureaucrats. It is still not a comprehensive code as it has multiplicity of funds, organisations, welfare schemes etc. Employer is still made liable personally for some of the benefits like occupational diseases, funeral benefit etc.
BMS has rejected totally the controversial Industrial Relations Code as it will only create jungle law in industrial sector. Many of the existing workers’ rights are being curtailed, like Government deciding the criteria of office bearers of trade unions, restricting the right to strike, allowing arbitrary dismissal of workers, excluding apprentices, raising the exclusion of Chapter VB from 100 to 300 workers and the like provisions. It blindly adopted the failed Rajasthan model reforms.
The fourth law, Labour Code on Occupational Safety and Health, and Working conditions (OSH & WC Code) has not taken care of many of the burning issues while codifying the laws like Contract labour Act, Factories Act, journalists law, transport workers law etc. The safety provisions are diluted in many units. The code covers only a section of workers and puts threshold limits on coverage, which is against the spirit of Codification. Trade unions are not properly represented in the Safety Board. Inspector system is withdrawn and is replaced by facilitator which is against ILO mandate. Provisions on working hours, leave and allowances are diluted. There are innumerable laws related to working conditions that are omitted from its ambit.
BMS demanded the Government to immediately consult the Trade Unions in the spirit of synergy and rectify glaring defects before any further step is taken on labour law reforms, informed Saji Narayanan.