Memorandum to The Honbl Prime Minister of India.

To
The Honourable Prime Minister
Government Of India
New Delhi

We the members of BMSRM (Bharatiya Medical & Sales Representatives’ Mahasangh ), an Industrial Unit of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh Demands the Government of that More than Ten Million Sales Promotion Representatives employed by the country’s drug and other sales industry seeking right to trade union protection. On behalf of Medical & Sales Representatives working in India, we submit the following justified Demands for legislation in the parliament which were pending since long.
As you are aware that the entire society is suffering from Health Care Problems due to delayed administrative policies of the Government. So we demand the Govt of India to solve the problems at the earliest by making necessary provisions in the administration.
Your good office is well aware that the pharmaceutical Industry is a glorified industry and revenue generating in the Country and giving a good impact in the National and International Market. Being the Pharmaceutical affairs is linked to Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers the concerned decisions are being delayed and needs supervision and proper guidance which is lacking in Health Care Industry,and the Govt is failing to give Health Care Protection to a common man in the country. Spurious drugs, Smuggled drugs and Banned drugs are playing a game with the health of millions in the country .Hence we urge upon the Govt to address these problems immediately in the Parliament sessions.
Demands
1. Medical & Sales Representatives to be recognized as workman and an amendment
to be made in central ID Act 1947.
2. A separate cabinet Ministry or a Department to be formed for Pharmaceutical affairs to
Prevent unethical practice in the Pharma Industry.
3. Mergers and acquisitions are not be allowed and there should be strict control to
Maintain the employment potential of the country by protecting the interest of
Small and medium scale companies.
K.Prudhvi Raju P. P. Nandha Kumar
National President General Secretary
M: 09885165015 M: 09446291806

BMS Statement before the Committee on Conventions

At the outset BMS wish to compliment the Ministry of Labour and Employment for convening the COC for the second time during this year, honouring its commitments to ILO. Ministry has its credit the ratification of C127 on Maximum Weights Convention recently. After 2008, C174 and C142 on HRD were ratified. It has also initiated process of consultation on ratifying some other conventions like that on fishing Sector and on OSH. We hope it will achieve ratification of those conventions.

GOI has to be congratulated for initiating the process of ratification of the latest convention adopted i.e. C188 on Fishing Sector within a short span of 3 years even though it had opposed it at the International Conference initially. It is to be further complemented for the fast pace at which the ILO Recommendation No. 200 concerning HIV/AIDS is sought to be implemented within a short span of 3 months of adoption by ILO. MOLE is going to place it before the Parliament as per ILO mandate. MOLE is also serious in organising ILCs and SLCs even though the intervals are some times longer. MOLE seems to be keen on obtaining comments of social partners on all reports to ILO, which is laudable.

Even a 2 or 3 hour meeting of COC will not be sufficient to discuss if we consider the seriousness and social dimensions of the work it has to perform. Some of our views on ratification and functioning of COC are as mentioned below:

Agenda item No.2. On Follow up on last meeting agenda:
It is reported last time that DDG (HS) has initiated process of amendment to MW Act to cover all categories of workers. No mention about the result is made in today’s COC agenda papers. Last time it was reported that C147 on Building and Construction workers will be deliberated in the concerned board. We would like to know the result. At the same time it is to be remembered that the commitment to ILO is primarily with GOI and it has to see that some how the purpose is achieved. The result of entrusting ratification of C138 and 182 on child labour which were adopted by ILO long back, with 2 sub groups is to be discussed in this COC. Similarly what is the result of efforts to resolve pending issues related to C162 and 170 as promised by AS (L&E).
It is to be examined from previous experiences whether budget fund is to be directly handled by Central Government or allotted to State Governments. In any case, fund constraints should not hamper implementation and monitoring of Labour laws. GOI has funds for indulging in extravagance in the midst of allegations of corruption in the name of Commonwealth Games etc. There, for one helium balloon displayed alone costs Rs. 82 crores!

Attitude of GOI on Conventions- Recent Case of Domestic Workers:
It is also worth mentioning that India gained an anti worker reputation in the ILC of ILO this year during the committee discussion on adoption of a convention on Domestic Workers. The incident that happened had been a matter of shame for all the Trade Unions from India, who had no other go except to stand up together and condemn the anti-worker stand taken by GOI. GOI moved an amendment against adopting a convention which was rejected for default at first for want of support from any other Government or even Employers. Later it was voted out. This was worse than the situation created by GOI during the adoption of convention on fishing sector. Why only our Government initiated such an anti worker move among 183 countries? The GOI has created an anti worker image for no purpose, among the workers and countries of the world, and will have to toil much in the coming years to get rid of it. Hence the Government has yet to instil confidence among TUs on its sincerity in ratification of conventions.

Agenda item No.3- Non ratification:
On Non ratification, the Agenda Paper mentions only C182 (Worst forms of child labour) and Recommendation 200 on HIV/AIDS. There are also many other important conventions yet to be ratified. We totally oppose the policy of GOI to postpone ratification till the National laws and practices were in full conformity with its provisions. This amounts to shirking its social responsibility. Labour Laws are totally unsatisfactory as we see the issues of less coverage and poor implementation. So the policy of MOLE should be changed to ‘ratification first’ which will facilitate it to go ahead with effective implementation of Labour laws and get out of its slow pace on labour matters. MOLE can very well seek technical assistance from ILO as well as expand its staff strength to cope up with such a situation.

MOLE has to seriously have a self introspection on what impression it had created on poor ratification of ILO conventions. Our country is one of the founding members of ILO. There are 188 conventions adopted by ILO out of which India has ratified only 43 conventions so far. India has not ratified Conventions on the following subjects, viz. Freedom of Association, Collective bargaining, Minimum Wages, Child labour, Fishing Sector, Employment, Accident prevention and Safety, Chemicals and Mines safety. The unratified conventions include subjects which are of grave importance, like OSH, Worst forms of child labour on which the Nation cannot compromise.India is emerging as a powerful Nation in the international community and its words are looked with high respect and expectations by other Nations. India’s view on many matters is given special attention for future global guidance. But with regard to the track record on conventions, India does not command a respectable position among the comity of Nations. India and US are mentioned in the Global report of ILO, 2010 as key countries with poor track record on ratifying conventions. So MOLE will have to go much further to instil confidence in the matter of ratification and its respect for Labour Standards. Instead of progressively expanding the list of coverage in Child labour law, it should be a blanket coverage. Each convention should cover all the sections and aspects of workers and not a piece meal application. Conventions are meant to raise Indian situations to International standards. So it is doubtful that GOI is “pursuing a dedicated programme to achieve ratification of ILO conventions.” * The attitude of the MOLE has to change which is the main cause for the slow pace of ratification of even the most important conventions including 4 out of the 8 core conventions** i.e. C87, 98, 132 & 182. In the light of this it is highly necessary to start with immediate ratification of core conventions.

C.87 & 98
C87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise) and C98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949) are two core conventions which are very important for the protection of workers rights and social dialogue. C.98 has been ratified by 159 countries and C87 ratified by 149 countries. One of the first labour laws in the country is the Trade Union Act of 1926. Still after nearly 84 years it is shameful for the country that it has not ratified the related ILO conventions. No new step has been taken by the successive Governments to improve from the 1926 situation even though the world has changed a lot. So BMS strongly demand the GOI to ratify them, and no lame excuses will satisfy the workforce.

C 138 & C182
C 138 (Minimum Age Convention, 1973) & C182 (Worst forms of Child labour Convention, 1999) are two other core conventions, which are very vital in the Indian context. It is very unfortunate that the MOLE is still in the process of “examination of ratification prospects” of C182 on worst forms of child labour. When ILO has set a target of eliminating all the worst forms of child labour by 2010, we are still “examining the prospects of ratification of C182”. This shows the degree of response of GOI. Congrats for successful Indian model on child labour project; still we are far away from total change.

C131- On Minimum Wages Fixing:
The committee on fair wages of 1947 had recommended progressive transformation through three wage levels: Minimum Wages, Fair Wages and Living Wages for the entire workforce of the Nation. Such was the dream of independent India at that time. Now when we look at ourselves after 63 years, even bare subsistence wage is not guaranteed to major part of the workforce. A Parliamentary committee in 2005 has found that there are States which have fixed statutory MW as low as Rs.25 per day! Has the MOLE taken cognizance of this tragic situation when it postpones the ratification of C131, amendment to MW Act bringing all workers under its purview and enforcing a National Minimum Wage (NFLMW)? NFLMW is required to be statutorily enforced for addressing the tragic plight and exploitation of workers especially migrant and other vulnerable sections. Even the amount of Rs.100 per day fixed w.e.f. 1-11-2009 is very less compared to the norms fixed by the 15th ILC as well as by the SC in Raptakos Bret case. MW differs widely from state to state and from sector to sector. No. of sectors covered also differs from state to state. It should cover uniformly to all in the world of work. Workers should be recognised as human beings, who have aspirations and expectations about their future and that of their family and children. Thus labour right issues are slowly getting identified as human right issues.

On OSH:
Safety and Health are areas where there cannot be any compromise. Still we have not cared to ratify many of the important conventions relating to OSH. Hence GOI has to give urgent attention to ratify C162 on Asbestos and C170 on Chemicals. Building and construction Industry is emerging as a large sector in the country where the concerned law is very poorly implemented by many State Governments in spite of the good efforts made by the MOLE in persuading them. ILO convention No. 167 and Recommendation No. 175 are on safety in construction. Ratifying them will be a good step in completing the process. Ratification of C176 on Safety and Health in Mines has to be speeded up in the light of the Mine accident in South America which has caused alarm among the common people. Since we have a separate Directorate for Mines the issue has to be pursued on a day to day basis by that Directorate. Regarding C155 on OSH, employers are concerned about the cost of safety. In appropriate cases GOI has to bear the cost instead of trying to exclude such categories. Exclusion should be avoided to the maximum. While progressively banning asbestos, there should be rehabilitation assistance to those associated with the industry and its workers.

In the newly emerging sectors like IT sector, SEZ, outsourcing etc., the main allegation is that the norms on working hours are flouted, in spite of ratified Convention No.1 (of 1919) on hours of work (industry),. This has to be rectified by appropriate legislations and stringent actions by the Government. In the unorganised sector also there is no law controlling working hours.

Agenda item No.4- Recommendation 200 on HIV/AIDS:
Along with HIV/AIDS all occupational and work place related diseases are to be addressed by the GOI.

Agenda item No.5- Dwindling Spirit of Tripartism?
Regarding ratified C144 on tripartite consultation, MOLE claims tripartite consultation has to be “effective” and not an empty formality. Consultation is done by circulation among TUs on questions arising out of report to be made to ILO under Art.22 obligation, which is a welcome move. MOLE had a unique tradition of working together with Trade Unions in bringing about many a important legislations. This has to be continued further. But at the central Level there are many tripartite bodies which only have been announced but did not meet even once. There are many tripartite bodies which have not met during last several years. e.g. high power tripartite body for power sector at centre had only 3 meetings in last 10 years. At the State level spirit of tripartism is not very effective. Labour being concurrent subject, both Central and State Govts exercise supervision. Hence the tripartism survey would be incomplete if compliance at State level is not looked into. As promised, this is to be discussed in this meeting of COC.

Recent example is regarding the issue of Domestic Workers. In order to bypass the views of Trade Unions, it constituted a Task Force without any participation of TUs. That was the main reason for such an immature stand adopted by GOI in ILO conference. It is wrong in reporting that “consultation has been done with all stake holders” regarding domestic workers. Government did not incorporate the views of workers in its stand at the ILO. Government feels “consultation” means just ask something and take an entirely opposite stand. So what was done was only a mockery.

Concept of tripartism implies as reported in the agenda papers, the “principles and culture of tripartism”. So it should not be an empty formality only for the purpose of reporting to ILO. BMS strongly feels that the present Government do not respect tripartite spirit except to the extent of formally and technically satisfying commitments to ILO. On child labour MOLE is not proactive in tripartite consultation especially in the light of the ILO Report 2010 which mentions India. TUs are ready to cooperate but BMS is kept out of IPEC. In such a road rolling process, labour and trade Unions have no other forum left but to take to streets to raise voice against the policies.

Lack of Social Vision:
India is a land of paradoxes. On one side it is showing a high economic growth rate. Whereas on the other side, a major part is in utter poverty and backwardness, giving rise to divisive tendencies like Maoists. It is the MOLE which can play a vital role in bringing social changes in the dark areas of India. Much awaited UWSS Act is not so far implemented, minimum wages is still a distant dream for majority of workers and the organised sector is fast getting converted to contract labour. Regarding labour welfare funds, many states are far ahead than the Centre. In construction works it is mostly contract labour. It is shameful for all of us that forced labour is rampant in the country in various forms and extreme forms of exploitative labour including sexual exploitation are being reported even from the capital city which is straight under the nose of the MOLE.

BMS demands:
1. MOLE has to stick to its commitments in consulting with BMS as the “most representative organisation” on labour matters as per ILO mandate.
2. The GOI has to be proactive in ratifying conventions.
3. Policy of MOLE has to be changed to ratification first and then completing formulation of National laws.
4. Report on all unratified conventions and Recommendations be placed before the COC, instead of pick and choose.
5. A report has to be placed before the COC as to how many tripartite committees are constituted under MOLE, how many of them are regularly meeting and how many are at default.
6. Ratify core conventions 87 & 98 on TU rights.
7. Ratify immediately core conventions 132 & 182 on child labour before the end of 2010 as envisaged by the ILO’s global report.
8. Like DGFASLI and DGMS, there ought to be separate Directorate for very large sectors like UO sector, Agriculture, Construction sector etc.
9. National institutes like NSC and DGMS should be roped in to assist in ratifying OSH conventions.
10. Ratify C131 on MW as a matter of priority.
11. Urgently convene a tripartite meeting on forced labour and extreme forms of labour.

*********
*Note: ILO has classified 188 conventions into the following categories:
Basic human rights,
Employment,
Social policy,
Labour administration,
Industrial relations,
Conditions of work,
Social security,
Employment of women,
Employment of children and young persons,
Migrant workers,
Indigenous and tribal peoples,
indigenous workers in non-metropolitan territories,
Other special categories (i.e. seafarers, older workers, fishermen, dockworkers, plantation workers, tenants and sharecroppers, nursing personnel, hotel and catering personnel)

**Basic Rights (Core conventions) enshrined in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work:

  • Freedom of Association
  • Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, 1948 (No. 87)
  • Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98)
  • The Abolition of Forced Labor
  • Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)
  • Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105)
  • Equality
  • Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)
  • Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100)
  • The Elimination of Child Labor
  • Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)
  • Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)

C.K. SAJI NARAYANAN, VICE PRESIDENT, BMS.
R.V. SUBBA RAO, VICE PRESIDENT, BMS.
New Delhi
5-10-10

BMS Opposes Anti Worker Clauses In The National Manufacturing Policy

PRESS RELEASE

Dated 19-4-2011

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) strongly opposes the anti labour proposals in the draft National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) released by the Ministry of industry and Commerce recently, said Saji Narayanan C.K., National President. The anti labour proposals in the draft includes- Contract Labour Abolition Act will not be applicable to the units in the NMIZ, flexibility to downsize, restrictions on the right to join unions, Labour Laws be made more flexible, employment of women in three shifts, maintaining temporary status of employees, extension of shift hours, ease the burden of payment to labour at the time of closure of unit etc. No such anti labour proposals were discussed by the Ministry of Labour with the social partners including Trade Unions. Commerce Minister’s declaration that stakeholders have been consulted is clearly a lie. Hence the act of Ministry of Industry and Commerce is clearly an encroachment into the domain of Ministry of Labour. The Commerce Ministry feels that development of industry can be achieved only at the cost of labour. The NMP contradicts the Ministry’s own declared Industrial Policy (1991) clause that no small section of society can corner the gains of growth, leaving workers to bear its pains and that labour should be an equal partner in progress and prosperity.
Ministry was misled by the wrong information that China has become the manufacturing hub of the world through relaxed labour laws in manufacturing units. This issue was raised earlier before the 2nd National Commission on Labour which after visiting China has reported that no labour law is relaxed in SEZ or other manufacturing sectors in China.  The Government is following the same wrong step as it took regarding SEZ policy which has ended in a National tragedy. “Development” should not be at the cost of labour. The trade unions cannot tolerate NMP breeding Shylocks who seek the flesh and blood of labour.  The ministry should realize that even without making labour a causality our industries and manufacturing units can grow and compete in the world market, BMS President added. Workers are looking upon every change proposed in labour laws with caution. The present tendency is to shift all the blame in the industrial field on the shoulders of workers.
We maintain the view that Industrial sickness is primarily due to management failure. For the failure of management, worker should not suffer. So it is fundamentally wrong to say that labour laws are a hindrance to industrial progress. Development without retrenchment should be the new approach. The idea of social partners recognizes three groups interested in the industrial progress, viz. the employers, workers and the consumers. The fruits of gains and demerits of the industry should be shared by all the three partners alike. Then only they will display a real sense of belonging to the industry. The exploitative philosophy of capitalism prefer contract labour system because of two main reasons, viz. workers need be given only lower wages and they can be thrown out at any time. This is sheer exploitation. Hence Saji Narayanan demanded the Ministry to reshape the NMP to make it a labour friendly one.
(C.K. Sajinarayanan)
President

Kerala Labour Policy

INTRODUCTION

During the period of foreign rule, the British introduced industrialisation and thereby heralded the advent of labour sector in this country. With the emergence of native industrialists the labour sector expanded. The pace of industrialization and the expansion of labour sector was accelerated by the first and second world wars. In the early years the workers organised to obtain wages to meet limited needs for livelihood and convenience to work decently. Labour struggle became a part of national movement. The concepts of freedom, democracy, secularism and socialism, were indoctrinated in the labour movement, thanks to agitations for rights of workers. The trade union leaders of yesteryears played a glorious role in this respect.

We are still striving to ensure social security measures envisaged in the directive principles of the Indian Constitution such as right to work, living wages, security in work place etc. Today the economy of the nation itself is facing grave crisis due to the impact of globalization, and the labour sector is in the dark shadows of economic and social problems. The threats faced by the economy of the nation, industry, agriculture and thereby the labour sector are due to the impact of the global pressures and hence beyond our control. Yet we are compelled to defend ourselves to protect our economic and social security. We have to initiate an urgent action plan in this regard. Labour Policy is a step by this Government in this context.

I. LABOUR SECTOR TODAY

1. It is the declared objective of this Government to formulate a new Labour Policy which is responsive to the changing needs of the Labour and Industry and to suit the requirements of economic development.

2. Governments have formulated Labour policies as a part of Industrial policy. This has also been a constraint in formulating labour policies independent of the industrial policy. Consequent on the grave crisis in the Indian economy, significant reforms based on liberalisation, globalisation were enforced from 1991. It was these economic reforms that dictated the industrial policy from then on. Only after a couple of years of reforms that negative effects on other sectors of polity came to be felt, the most affected being the Labour .

3. Though the new industrial policy was aimed at speedy industrial growth, Kerala has not been able to share in the spurt of industrial activity. The tardy growth in industrialisation has accentuated the problem of unemployment and the numbers have increased to 43 lakhs.

4. The state has a work force of around 83 lakhs of which 19 lakhs are women workers. The vast majority work in the unorganised, or informal sector; sometimes in conditions of partial employment, often without adequate access to decent wages or Social Security protection. The attention of Government have been largely focused on protecting the working conditions and the rights of the relatively privileged minority of workers in the organised sector.

5. Unemployment is one of the basic problems confronting the State, and Government have to spur the creation of new employment opportunities. There are presently around 43 lakhs of young people registered on the unemployment rolls of the State. Productive employment is being created in the State’s economy at very low rates. Despite the relatively high skill and adaptability levels of the State’s workforce, labour market has not been perceived as a positive factor by prospective investors in Kerala.

6. Labour Sector problems in Kerala are:-

(i) The high rates of unemployment and underemployment.

(ii) The low rates of productive employment creation.

(iii) The unprotected conditions in the unorganized sector.

(iv) The perception of adversarial labour relations.

(v) The inadequate levels of skill creation and training.

(vi) The inefficiently targeted Social Security regime.

Labour legislation that is becoming out of tune with the times.

7. The competitive market reform policies have turned many industrial units unviable. The plantation sector is also facing a grave situation

due to unremunerative prices for commodity products like Coffee, Tea and Rubber. All this has led to retrenchment and closure of many industrial units and estates in the plantation sector.

8. The forces of globalization, the dismantling of trade barriers, the new production paradigms in `sunrise` areas like information technology and biotechnology, the practice of homeworking, intangible value addition and other phenomena are making their presence felt in India also. The organised sector worldwide is moving away from an employment security regime, towards an income security regime. The new environment demands a high degree of adaptability and flexibility in the Labour market, but the challenge before the government is to ensure that this flexibility is compatible with Labour market security, including protection against arbitrary loss of employment, arbitrary reductions in income and unhealthy work practices.

9. Hence labour policy initiatives are aimed at creating a favourable environment for a planned effort, facilitating industrial promotion and revival along with legislative and structural changes to bring in an environment devoid of restrictive labour practices, but protecting the rights and interests of the workers.

10. Given this context, the policy objectives of Government arise from the following strategic goals.

(a) fostering an enabling environment for rapid employment generation through enhanced private and public investment, in order to achieve the goal of creating 15 lakhs of new jobs in the coming five years.

(b) Retraining and rehabilitation of retrenched labour in closed and sick units.

(c) improving working conditions, providing decent wages and basic lifeline Social Security for workers, especially in the unorganized sector.

(d) minimizing adversarial Labour relations and providing Labour market security, employment security, work security, and income security for the working population.

II. SOCIAL SECURITY

(i) Kerala has made considerable progress in extending Social Security coverage through the mechanism of tripartite welfare fund boards. However, many of these schemes lack clear perspective, and need to be restructured. Their delivery mechanisms are often inefficient and expensive. A “Frame Legislation” will be enacted to bring in a degree of perspective and order for all Social Security initiatives, aimed at consolidating the current set of enactment’s, executive orders, provide guidelines for working out future schemes and obviate the need for individual legislation’s, apart from providing a standards set of basic operating polices and procedures.

(Ii) Extending the coverage of the social security net to cover vulnerable workers in the unorganised sector is one of the major priorities of the Government. New welfare schemes will be introduced for domestic workers, self-employed workers in the service sector and other unprotected categories. These new schemes will be introduced by utilizing existing administrative structures. The delivery system will be computerized to facilitate efficient disbursement; and Social Security cards will be introduced to facilitate universal access and to prevent leakage and malpractice.

(Iii) The fund management of the welfare fund boards will be improved by deploying professional expertise, keeping in view the twin objectives of fund security and income generation. An investment policy to maximise income and control expenditure that would be uniformly applicable to all Boards would be formulated. A comprehensive membership reverification drive will be conducted in all the welfare fund boards to identify and eliminate fraudulent registrations.

(Iv) The financial resources of Government available to support the Social Service system are limited. Government will endeavour to reprioritize the allocation of funds to ensure that vulnerable workers and essential schemes benefit the most. The welfare fund boards would also have to be self-sustaining, drawing upon the resources of community and non-governmental organisations.

III. EMPLOYEE -EMPLOYER RELATIONSHIPS

(i) It is a fact universally acknowledged that one of the impediments to the growth of investment in Kerala has been the poor image still subsisting from the years of Kerala`s labour militancy. Even though this appears to be largely a thing of the past, this residual perception hampers industrial development. We are in an era when the various State and regions are in intense competition for attracting investment. The State`s youth have paid a heavy price on account of inadequate employment creation arising from the very low levels of investment in Kerala. Given the relatively high knowledge levels, skills and adaptability of the worker in Kerala, labour should be projected as a positive factor while considering Kerala as an investment destination. Hence Government would endeavour to promote ideal employee-employer relationships and to curb undesirable labour practices and adversarial labour relations through suitable legislation, through conscientisation, awareness raising and appropriate administrative interventions.

(Ii) With in the purview of the existing laws, entrepreneur will have rights for engaging labour and shall not be inhibited by any claims from ‘sons of the soil’, displaced persons from acquired land, construction, contract labour and dependents of employees.

(Iii) All restrictive labour practices including intimidation, “gherao”, harassment of managers and their families, and extortion of any kind will be treated as criminal offences and dealt with accordingly.

(Iv) Management will have the prerogative to deploy workers in any section of the unit as part of a multi craft approach.

(v) Government will endeavour to prevent stoppages of work in projects on account of industrial disputes; especially during the first five years of the project. The Government will also severely discourage deleterious practices such as ‘go-slow’.

(vi) The new economic policies have substantially reduced the intervention of government in running business. Government is actively pursuing steps to make the regulations for setting up and managing industry simple and transparent in tune with the new liberalization policies. The state has entrenched trade unions led by knowledgeable and experienced leaders. Government will encourage by- partism in industrial disputes. Necessary amendments will be enacted to ensure presence of employers and employees in conciliation proceedings. An arbitration machinery will be constituted to settle disputes not resolved by conciliation.

Government will also encourage long term settlements in industries focussing on productivity and sound managerial practices.

(viii) To prevent the occurrence of disruptive wildcat strikes and lockouts, Government will declare certain vital industries and establishments as “public utilities” under the Industrial Disputes Act.

(ix) Special conciliation mechanisms will be set up by Government if, required, exclusively for entrepreneurs and projects with investment of Rs 150 crores or more in order to ensure that labour disputes are handled on site in a pro-active manner.

(x) The viability of a project depends on the completion of construction and commissioning within the time and cost estimate. Work stoppages whether due to labour dispute or non-fulfillment of obligations by builders will not be permitted.

(xi) Industrial Relations Committees have the pivotal role to create an atmosphere of complete understanding between labour and management. Tripartite industrial relations committees will be set up for key sectors and industries. The Government will endeavor to accord statutory legitimacy and protection to these committees.

IV. LABOUR LAW REFORMS

(i) Many of the labour laws which were enacted at a time when the production paradigm and environment were different, have become outmoded. The Government of India is amending seminal labour legislation like The Industrial Disputes Act, The Trade Unions Act, The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act and others. The Second National Labour Commission which is looking into the new legal regime in the sector is expected to submit its report shortly. An expert committee will be constituted to study and make recommendations for simplifying and amending labour laws and rules.

(Ii) Government will attempt to reduce the needless proliferation of Trade unions in establishments, without detriment to the rights and interests of the work force. Legislation will be enacted for conduct of referenda and laying down norms for the recognition of Trade Unions in industries and establishments.

(Iii) There is a need to expedite the industrial dispute resolution mechanism of the labour judiciary, including the Labour courts, Industrial Tribunals, Workmen’s Compensation Commissioners etc. Government will make requisite amendments to the rule and procedures governing the functioning of these bodies to speed up and streamline this process. The provisions for publication of the awards of Labour Courts and Tribunals in the Government Gazette will be amended to expedite enforcement.

(Iv) The Government will also enact requisite State amendments to the Industrial Disputes Act to enable workmen or management to approach Labour Courts/Industrial Tribunals directly, if the conciliation process proves to be ineffective.

(v) The Kerala Headload Workers Act 1978 is an enactment providing social security net to a category of workers. However certain unforeseen practices relating to loading and unloading have since become an irritant phenomena perceived as a stumbling block for industrial growth in the State. A separate legislation to do away with these practices without affecting the rights and interests of the labour will be enacted.

V. WORKPLACE SECURITY AND INCOME SECURITY

(i) The rapidly changing economic environment accentuates the need to fortify the enforcement machinery of the Labour Department to ensure that workers rights including income security & work security are adequately protected. Kerala has a long history of activism for securing the rights of the working population. The Government will endeavour to ensure that the working conditions and the rights of workers are protected by enforcing welfare legislation.

(Ii) A special monitoring system will be instituted for ensuring work place security and dignified working conditions for women workers.

(Iii) Enforcement committees will be constituted at district levels on a sectoral basis for monitoring the enforcement of statutory rules, welfare measures and safety conditions of workers.

(Iv) For the effective implementation of the Minimum Wages Act, Government will expand the category of employment’s under the schedule to the Act. Wages shall be revised for each category of employments without delay and the payment of minimum wages effectively supervised. Government shall take initiative to implement minimum wage for South Indian States, as part of the measures to implement the national minimum wage policy.

(v) The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act will be aggressively enforced and Government will endeavour to make Kerala the first State in the country to be free of Child Labour.

(Vi) Outbound migrant workers, especially women from Kerala require special attention, especially in sectors like fish processing. Government will strengthen the monitoring system for migrant workers to ensure proper implementation of the existing laws and to minimise the chances of their exploitation by intermediaries or principal employers.

(vii) The quality of medical care made available under the Employees State Insurance scheme has to be improved. Government will endeavour to provide better access to modern medical facilities to insured employees under the Employees State Insurance Scheme. The ESI coverage will be widened in order to increase its area of operation.

(Viii) The enforcement of laws & measures like the Factories Act and Rules for assuring workplace security and for the abatement of occupational hazards and diseases will be made more effective. Enforcement of Acts relating to industrial safety and prevention of pollution would be strengthened. Special attention will be focussed to identify hazardous industries and sectors including those in the unorganized sector.

(Ix) The labour enforcement machinery is grossly inadequate to cope with the multitude of labour laws and the various establishments that require surveillance. The enforcement strategy will be to reduce the burden on the existing machinery and to encourage employers and other stakeholders to proactively participate in the implementation of this strategy on a voluntary compliance basis.

VI. PLANTATION SECTOR

Kerala accounts for 71% of production of plantation crops in the country. About 14.5 lakh families are dependent on plantation sector for livelihood. Excluding the marginal farmers the labour employed in the plantation sector comes to about 4 and a half lakhs, while the total number of factory workers in the industrial sector is 4.51 lakhs. This points to the importance of plantation sector. Problems faced by plantation sector are mainly due to unremunerative prices for products and lack of productivity. Estates remain closed and those functioning are not profitable. Increased productivity coupled with scientific management, technological innovations can only salvage the plantations from ruin. Government will encourage and promote Non Resident investment in this sector

VII. DISPLACED WORKERS

Government will prepare special rehabilitation packages for workers who are displaced by the closure of industries and sick sectors. Government is particularly concerned about the conditions and prospects of workers in sectors that have been severely affected, including the plantation sector, the Beedi sector, the Cashew, Coir, Handloom and the Agricultural sector. This package will include retraining and resettlement schemes where required.

VIII. EMPLOYMENT REGISTRATION AND INDUSTRIAL TRAINING

(i) The functioning of Employment Exchanges needs to be completely overhauled. These exchanges will be computerised over the next 5 years and the database updated. It is expected that private sector employers will also source their requirements from the employment exchanges when this computerisation process is completed. The Government will also play a more proactive role in enabling access to employment opportunities overseas.

(Ii) The quality of industrial training provided through the network of Industrial Training Institutes / Industrial Training Centres is out of phase with current employer requirements, and needs to be revamped. The curriculum and the course content of these Industrial Training Institutes/ Industrial Training Centres will be completely restructured in line with prospective employer requirements.

IX. INSTITUTIONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS

(i) The Labour Department will be modernised using the tools of Information Technology to ensure meaningful labour law enforcement, efficient delivery of social security, and harmonious industrial relations. The functioning of the department will be made transparent. A joint cell of the Labour Department and Industries Department will be constituted to study what changes need to be made in laws, rules and regulations and in the administrative and institutional arrangements to achieve these objects.

(Ii) Kerala Institute of Labour & Employment

In the background of a fluid and uncertain scenario emerging in the industrial scene, labour has to be prepared to face the challenges ahead. The worker has to be educated. Awareness of the problems in general and problems of the particular industry is inevitable for effective and collective bargaining. The workers as well as the leaders of the trade unions has to cope with the changing demand. Only an enlightened labour force can increase productivity and speed up the industrialisation in the state. Workshops, seminars, orientation sessions will be conducted. KILE has a very pivotal role to play in this regard. The scope and functioning of this institute will be enhanced in tune with the National Institute of Labour.

(Iii) Development Overseas and Employment Promotion Consultants Ltd.

The prime asset of our state is undoubtedly the army of unemployed youth estimated to be around 60 lakhs. This human resource available with us has to be channeled to productive sector. Skilled labour is the prime need in the International labour market in view of the rapid technological advances. Our state is blessed with a vast army of skilled and qualified persons on the look out for suitable placements in India and abroad. Identifying and placing the candidates is a very challenging task. Millions of job opportunities are available in different parts of the world. It is envisaged that ODEPC will act as the catalyst between the job and the job seekers.

(Iv) A policy progress monitoring team will be constituted with Secretary (Labour) as Convenor to review the implementation of the policy and consider necessary and appropriate interventions in accordance with the altering needs and demands of labour in view of the fast moving changes in the industrial scene. Review of progress of implementation of the policy will be prepared by the team for the consideration of the Minister ( Labour and Rehabilitation) and the Council of Ministers.

VISION

This policy is the statement of the concerns of this government for the welfare and protection of labour and to endeavour to empower them and improve their quality of life. Increased production, productivity coupled with a harmonious and peaceful labour relations and a new work culture only will create a conducive climate for rapid industrial investment and growth. This will ensure the successful solutions to the twin problems of retrenchment of labour and creation of new jobs for the unemployed. Government is also committed to providing labour market security, income security and decent working conditions for the working population. This labour policy aims to carry forward these objectives. These aims can be attained only if there is tripartite and mutually beneficial partnership between employers, workers and the Government.

LABOUR POLICY HIGHLIGHTS

· Creative measures to attract public and private investment.

· 15 lakh new jobs in the coming five years.

· A unified and consolidated legislation for social security schemes.

· New Social security schemes for workers in the unorganised sector.

· Social security cards for workers.

· Unified and beneficial management of funds of Welfare Boards.

· Reprioritisation of allocation of funds to benefit vulnerable workers.

· Model employee-employer relationships.

· Long term settlements based on productivity.

· Vital industries and establishments declared as `public utilities`.

· Special conciliation mechanism for projects with investments of Rs.150 crores or more.

· Industrial Relations committees in more sectors.

· Labour Law reforms in tune with the times. Empowered body of experts to suggest required changes.

· Referenda for recognition of trade unions.

· Statutory amendments for expediting and streamlining the mechanism of Labour Judiciary.

· Amendments to Industrial Disputes Act in tune with the times.

· Efficient functioning of Labour Department.

· More labour sectors under Minimum Wages Act.

· Child labour act to be aggressively enforced.

· Modern medical facilities for workers.

· Rehabilitation packages for displaced workers.

· Restructuring in functioning of employment exchanges. Computerization and updating of data base.

· Revamping of curriculum and course content in industrial training.

· Joint cell of labour department and industries department to study changes in laws and rules.

· Kerala Institute of Labour & Employment to be upgraded.

· Policy progress monitoring team to review progress of implementation of policy.

Maharashtra government To Formulate New Labour Policy

Maharashtra government is in the process of formulating a comprehensive labour policy in order to promote
harmonious relationship between employers and workers.
“The policy provides guidelines on the interaction between the workers and employers in the organised sector, on role of trade unions and employer’s organisations and also guideline for protection of workers in the unorganised sector, including those who are self-employed,” principal secretary (Labour) Dr Kavita Gupta, said.
The policy represents the statement of intentions of the government on labour and takes into account
pronouncements of the Central and state government on industry, employment, investment and infrastructure, safety and health, child labour and national policy on HIV/AIDS, etc.
The policy dwells on unorganised sector, safety and health at work, coverage of protection, contract labour, bilateral iteraction in workplaces, industrial dispute, social security, working and living conditions for labour, gender concerns, and issues related to union workers, migrant workers and disabled workers.
It also addresses issues like sexual harassment, labour standards and corporate social responsibility, Gupta said.
The policy aims at improving labour productivity, especially in the globalised scenario and focuses on creating a winwin situation for the labour and industries and promoting capacities through good practises which will enable state to face a globally competitive environment.
The draft Labour Policy was put on the government website in November last year and was available for suggestions and objections till March 10, she said.
Several suggestions and objections were received from various stakeholders including the managements, labour unions and other experts, Gupta said.
They are being considered to formulate the final policy which will shortly be put up for government approval, she added.

Amendment to ID Act BMS view

Ref: No.BMS/D-4//2012

Date: 08-6-2012

The Secretary,
Ministry of Labour & Employment,
Govt. Of India,
Shram Shakti Bhawan,
New Delhi – 110001.

Sub:- National Manufacturing Policy – Amendment to Section 25FFF(1A) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

Dear Sir,

We thankfully acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 23 May 2012.
With regard to proposed amendments to the ID Act are concerned we have gone through the contents of your letter ibid carefully and after due consideration we are of the view that:-

(a) The proposed pro-worker amendment to contract labour law in the ILC of 2010 has not progressed any further and getting least priority whereas subject amendment to which the worker is hardly interested is getting overriding priority which cannot be appreciated.

(b) Previously SEZ’s became controversial and now creation of NMIZ are also going to the same way. The subject proposal being brought hastily by the Govt. is not an agenda set by the Ministry of Labour but it is only to comply with demand from Ministry of Commerce. The compulsions behind this move to get Act amended cannot be appreciated.

(c) The case of exhaustion of mineral cannot be compared with manufacturing sector and can never be equated with closure of industry. Payment of compensation or to provide for alternative employment has been thrown on the shoulders of employers in case of closure. Govt. wants to withdraw its responsibility which will result in encouraging closures and increase in unemployment which again cannot be appreciated.

(d) BMS is basically opposed to the concept of creation of NMIZ’s and as such no amendment in any industrial law is required.
Hence BMS strongly opposes any amendment to ID Act in haste as proposed in your letter.

We will wholeheartedly welcome any move of the Government in improving the manufacturing sector, if it ensures decent work for the workers and without denying any right of the workers.

Sincerely yours,

(BaijNathRai)
General Secretary

BMS opposes NMIZ policy

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) strongly opposes the anti labour proposals in the draft National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) released by the Ministry of industry and Commerce recently, said Saji Narayanan C.K., National President. The anti labour proposals in the draft includes- Contract Labour Abolition Act will not be applicable to the units in the NMIZ, flexibility to downsize, restrictions on the right to join unions, Labour Laws be made more flexible, employment of women in three shifts, maintaining temporary status of employees, extension of shift hours, ease the burden of payment to labour at the time of closure of unit etc. No such anti labour proposals were discussed by the Ministry of Labour with the social partners including Trade Unions. Commerce Minister’s declaration that stakeholders have been consulted is clearly a lie. Hence the act of Ministry of Industry and Commerce is clearly an encroachment into the domain of Ministry of Labour. The Commerce Ministry feels that development of industry can be achieved only at the cost of labour. The NMP contradicts the Ministry’s own declared Industrial Policy (1991) clause that no small section of society can corner the gains of growth, leaving workers to bear its pains and that labour should be an equal partner in progress and prosperity.

Ministry was misled by the wrong information that China has become the manufacturing hub of the world through relaxed labour laws in manufacturing units. This issue was raised earlier before the 2nd National Commission on Labour which after visiting China has reported that no labour law is relaxed in SEZ or other manufacturing sectors in China. The Government is following the same wrong step as it took regarding SEZ policy which has ended in a National tragedy. “Development” should not be at the cost of labour. The trade unions cannot tolerate NMP breeding Shylocks who seek the flesh and blood of labour. The ministry should realize that even without making labour a causality our industries and manufacturing units can grow and compete in the world market, BMS President added. Workers are looking upon every change proposed in labour laws with caution. The present tendency is to shift all the blame in the industrial field on the shoulders of workers.

We maintain the view that Industrial sickness is primarily due to management failure. For the failure of management, worker should not suffer. So it is fundamentally wrong to say that labour laws are a hindrance to industrial progress. Development without retrenchment should be the new approach. The idea of social partners recognizes three groups interested in the industrial progress, viz. the employers, workers and the consumers. The fruits of gains and demerits of the industry should be shared by all the three partners alike. Then only they will display a real sense of belonging to the industry. The exploitative philosophy of capitalism prefer contract labour system because of two main reasons, viz. workers need be given only lower wages and they can be thrown out at any time. This is sheer exploitation. Hence Saji Narayanan demanded the Ministry to reshape the NMP to make it a labour friendly one.

(C.K. Sajinarayanan)
President

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