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.