Unions cry foul, Sena to oppose labour reform
The proposals say that units with less than 300 workers will need to pay 45 days’ compensation for each year of continuous service. Those with 300 or above workers will have to pay 30 days’ compensation if state permission is sought before closure. And 60 days’ compensation if state permission is not sought.
Unions say this will undermine workers’ rights. “Large companies will now be able to easily exercise the closure option. Currently, after seeking government permission for closures, there are negotiations with workers to ensure that the compensation is paid,” said Vivek Monteiro of Centre for Indian Trade Unions.
Factories with less than 100 workers which currently do not need state permission for closures account for 31.6% of the workforce. Factories with between 100 and 300 workers, which the state also wants to add to the exempted list, account for 23% of factory workers.
At this point, proposed Vivek Monteiro| amendments have been endorsed by a cabinet sub-committee. They will have to be cleared by the state cabinet and then by the state legislature. Since it is a Central law, reform will also need the approval of the President.
The Shiv Sena has said it will oppose the reforms in the state cabinet. But Sena leader and industries minister Subhash Desai was part of the sub-committee which cleared the amendments and even signed the minutes. The other members of the subcommittee included revenue minister Chandrakant Patil, labour minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar and labour department officials.
The state’s proposals, however, say it has the option of re-introducing the requirement for seeking government clearances in individual cases if required. “This is an enabling provision which could be exercised if there is a situation of dispute or exploitation,” said a labour department official. The proposals also suggests a 3-year ceiling on raising industrial disputes. Currently, there is no time bar on the raising of disputes by workers.