The shaky foundation of the labour law reforms

(GS-3, Labor Reforms, Economics

Source- The Hindu)

Context:-

The Central government enacted the Code on Wages in August 2019 and the other Codes, viz., the Industrial Relations Code, the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code and Code on Social Security (CSS) in September 2020. Now the government has framed the draft rules which seems incomplete under all the codes, which is because the rules have not covered some aspects of the Codes, e.g. rules regarding recognition of central trade unions have not been framed so far.

Why Government need these 4 codes:-

  • For ease of doing business, ease in the labor reforms will attract the FDI in the manufacturing sector.

  • Hiring and firing with little government interference will provide more productivity, thereby more production and more jobs.

  • We have to change the laws according to the timely need.

  • Even the national labor commission has recommended it.

  • It will strengthen the labor market on one hand and help in producing more jobs on the other.

  • The Government is of the opinion that these codes would extend universal minimum wages and social security which will further enable and enhance industrial safety.

  • These codes also provide the provision of social security to gig workers, among other things.

What is the issue in framing the rules etc?

  • The Government has held only partial consultation with the central trade unions while framing the rules for the codes.

  • State governments were completely unprepared with the codes.

  •  The government has not shown serious intent to implement the codes.

  • The central government has deferred the date of implementation to October 1, 2021, which is again tentatively and shows a rush towards the code implementation.

  • In one nation, one ration card (ONOR), Supreme court said that ONOR is important and for this Aadhaar seeding and the universal availability of an electronic point of sale (EPOS) system are necessary. 

    • The issue remains i.e. The governments did not honor the Supreme Court’s orders relating to the registration of construction workers for the last many years.

  • An expert committee gave advice on minimum wages and announced that the wage index’s base year would be shifted from 1965 to 2019 to use the revised wage index to determine minimum wages.

Issues about the Industrial accident which are the main cause of concern:-

  • There are many incidences of major industrial accidents during the COVID­19 period. 

    • For example:- A report by IndustriAll has mentioned that between May to June there were 32 major industrial accidents occurred in India in which 75 workers were killed.

  • CRUSHED, a reports for 2019 and 2020 showed a disturbing picture of industrial accidents in the automobile industry in the Gurgaon region. 

  • Industrial safety has continued to be a grave concern even after the enactment of the Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions Code.

  • The Government provided relief measures to workers who are unorganized.

Extra titbits for UPSC:-

  • What is the labor wages code:-

    • The Code replaces the following four laws:

      • The Payment of Wages Act, 1936

      • The Minimum Wages Act, 1948,

      • The Payment of Bonus Act, 1965

      • the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.

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