CLRA Emerging Trends -I

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Dear All

CLRA Emerging Trends

The Summary Record of Discussion of the 44th Session of the Standing Labour Committee held on 17th October, 2011 at New Delhi under the Chairmanship of Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, Union Minister of Labour and Employment, Government of India records the CLRA Emerging trends . The national level tripartite meeting was attended by senior level functionaries of Central Trade Union Organizations, Employers‟ Organizations, State Governments and Central Ministries and Departments.

Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, Union Minister of Labour and Employment on the demand of Trade Unions to amend the Contract Labour Act, 1970 to provide for automatic absorption of contract labour in the event of prohibition of employment of contract labour and opposition by the employers‟ organizations, Shri Kharge said that the ministry has been making efforts to protect the interests of all stakeholders and trying to extend the same benefits to contract workers which are otherwise available to permanent workers.

Views from the Employers side:

In the Meeting Shri R. Venkatanarayanan, Confederation of Indian Industry invited the attention of the delegates to the Global Financial Downturn. He stressed upon the necessity to invest more in order to generate more employment opportunities. He said that the issue of contract labour requires further discussion and law should be strictly followed. He said that regular employees and contract labourers cannot be paid the same due to many considerations such as training, experience etc, and a „flexibility premium‟ is the way out. He mentioned that the rationalization of labour laws should be done and as far as possible third party verification and self-certification by the employers should be applicable. He further stated that employment generation and skill development are linked to each other and CII is working towards setting up of several skill centers for skill development of the disadvantaged rural youth. But he believed that much more needs to be done to enhance the employment situation of the country. Therefore, skill training should to be imparted both to the rural and urban youth covering both employment and self employment.

Shri Michael Dias, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry suggested rationalization of labour laws in the context of unorganized sector. In his view, the issues pertaining to contract labour needs to be addressed in-depth, possibly after receiving the report from V.V.Giri National Labour Institute. In this regard, he fully supported and endorsed that a complete data on contract labour be made available and urged the need for a white paper to be brought out by the Ministry of Labour and Employment at the earliest. He considered the issues of enhancing employability and employment as critical ones which needed serious attention from all stakeholders and should be a part of agenda at the next ILC.

But there were opposite views from:

Shri S. K. Rathore, All India Secretary, Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh stressed the need for amendment of contract labour laws and emphasized that the explicit purpose of engaging contract labour is to provide less wages and poor service conditions, leading to sheer exploitation. He expressed his concern over permanent jobs being converted into contractual job even in PSU‟s and Government Departments. Therefore, there is a need for immediate amendment of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act in order to prevent all types of exploitation. He also focused on issues pertaining to women working in Anganwadi, ASHA and mid-day meal workers etc. who are facing gender discrimination and working under exploitative conditions. He also highlighted the issue of wide variation in minimum wages from state to state and sector to sector which has resulted in large scale migration. He expressed that the need to fix a National Minimum Wage to combat uneven income disparity.

Shri Srinageshwar, Council of Indian Employers reflected on the similarity in the condition of workers engaged in various sectors and on the issue of Contract Labour. He reiterated that the western models for improving the conditions of contract labour could not be transmitted to India rather there should be focus on direct impact of employment generation. While pointing out at the content of the Impact Study Report, he considered it to be important to engage in a discussion in a tripartite forum and come out with a concrete decision. He also focused on the competitiveness of the industry with simultaneous flexibility that cannot be underestimated either by the government or trade unions. He further stated that the employers train a huge number of trainees in their premises who become a source of huge pool of trained manpower for the industry either locally or outside. This should be recognized and the employer should be incentivized by the government for undertaking these initiatives.

Shri Janardhan Singh Sigriwal, Labour Minister, Govt. of Bihar expressed his concern on the issue of poor working conditions of Contract Laborers. The increasing tendency towards outsourcing of Contract Labour has led to the hiring of more Contract Labour in comparison to regular workers. Moreover, globalization has led to migration of workers outside India who are subjected to all kinds of exploitation by placement agencies. He quoted examples of migrant workers from Bihar who recently returned from Libya and were devoid of any social security. Therefore, he stressed the need for a law to protect the interests of international migrant workers. He also emphasized the need for skill development as skill and knowledge is considered as motivating power for economic and social development. He stressed the need for establishment of more and more industrial training institutes to boost the supply of skilled manpower to meet the projected demand of 50 crore skill manpower by 2022 as per estimates of National Kaushal Vikas Mission.

..To be continued>>>

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