Unions cry foul, Sena to op­pose labour re­form

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY -

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.

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