Strong objection and condemn bulldozing of codification of labour laws and other laws

CTUs – INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC and Independent Federations/Associations - take strong objection and condemn bulldozing of codification of labour laws and other laws in spite of strong objections from the trade union movement.

The government have made known their intention to codify various labour laws through an unconstitutional method of making it a part of the budget speech on 5.07.2019, ignoring the state jurisdiction of concurrent list in the Constitution.

Now, on 23.07.2019, the government has introduced the Code on Wages Bill 2019 and the Occupational  Safety,  Health and  Working  Conditions  Code  Bill  2019  in  Lok  Sabha.  The contents of both the Bills totally ignore all the points of oppositions and reservations on various provisions of both the Bills curtailing the rights of the workers and are prejudicial to their interests raised by all the central trade union organizations.

Contrary to the claims by the  Government,  these codes would enhance the process of exclusion of workers from the benefits they accrue from the existing laws, by simply raising the threshold level of number of workers for application of those laws.

The wage code has denied the agreed formula of wage calculation as per 15th Indian Labour conference, and add on 25% as directed by Supreme Court judgment in Raptakos case and which was repeatedly and unanimously accepted by 45th and 46th ILC. The Expert Committee appointed by the Central Government, which excluded any participation from the Trade Unions, to determine the methodology to determine the National Minimum Wage also went against those recommendations. But to top it all the Labour Minister, on 10.07.2019 unilaterally announced the National Minimum Wage as Rs. 4628/-pm, when even the 7th CPC recommends Rs.18000/-pm as the minimum wages w.e.f. 1.01.2016.

The  Code on Occupational  Safety,  Health  and Working  Conditions Bill  2019  replaces  13 existing Labour laws, making it applicable to the establishments, with ten workers, thus keeping 90 percent of workforce which is from unorganised sector/informal economy sector, outsourced on contract and homebased sector would be out of the purview of the code.

Most of these laws were enacted to address and regulate the service conditions of different segments of workers and employees like Sales Promotion Employees, Mines, Beedi, Construction, Working Journalists and Newspaper  Employees  etc  in  accordance  with  and taking care of the aspects relating their respective occupation specificities and peculiarities which were different and widely varying from one another. By repealing all these Acts and selectively picking up the provisions advantageous to employers only from these Acts for incorporation of the Code Bill and grossly diluting and/or tampering all the provisions pertaining to rights and protection of the workers in general, the Govt seeks to drastically curtail the workers’ rights, in their most obedient services of their corporate masters.

Even on Health and Safety related matters, the Code has so articulated the provisions as the workers and their unions cannot assert their opinions and rights for proper enforcement or establish the accountability of the employers for violation of even the basic health and safety provisions which is a common and daily phenomenon in the workplaces across the sectors throughout the country leading to loss of lives and disabling injuries almost every day.

On 23.07.2019, the Central Government, by its brute majority in the Parliament, passed the hated Motor Vehicles Bill, opposed with stupendous strikes by transport workers federations through out the country since 2014, making it into an Act. This is a clear indication of how undemocratically the BJP Government will work, in spite of all the declarations of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vishwas”.

The CTUs condemn such anti-worker moves of the Government and call upon the workers, their unions and federations, irrespective of affiliations, to observe 2nd   August, 2019, with countrywide united protest and raise the demand to withdraw the proposed anti-worker legislations, ignoring all norms of international labour standards.

The CTUs also call upon the Members of Parliament to oppose these undemocratic methods used by the ruling party to bulldoze anti-worker legislations, bypassing tripartism and normal legislative procedure.

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