Wednesday, July 22, 2015



Narendra Modi tried to reach out to trade unions on Monday saying labour laws will be modified only after consensus as Bharatiya Janata Partyaffiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh ( BMS) openly opposed any reforms. At the 46th Indian Labour Conference here, Modi said that consensus would be the guiding principle while changing labour laws and the government would continue to consult trade unions.

In the presence of trade unions, officials and industry representatives, Modi said that a" thin line" divides interests of industry and industrialists, the government and the nation, and labour and labour organisations.

" Often, one talks about saving the industry but ends up protecting industrialists. There is a need to recognise this thin line and adopt a balanced approach to the deal with the issues and change the environment." In an apparent push for reforms in the sector to make it easier for companies to do business, Modi also spoke of the need to modify laws by adding some and scrapping some to improve productivity.

Obsolete and unnecessary laws are being weeded out as part of the government’s objective to achieve minimum government and maximum governance, he said.

The first meeting of the highlevel inter- ministerial committee set up under Union finance minister Arun Jaitley to evolve a consensus on labour reforms had failed to make any substantive headway on Sunday.

Raising labour issues, BMS national president B. N. Rai said that rapid economic growth should not be at the cost of workers. Attacking the government for pursuing" few wrong policies", he stressed trade unions will not allow reforms at the cost of labour.

" The government has adopted few wrong policies by taking such actions which directly affect labour in particular and people in general." Among the" wrong policies", Rai listed unilateral enactment of Apprentice Act as well as allowing the Rajasthan government to do unilateral changes in Factories and other labour laws, which has motivated Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and other ( state) governments to follow the same line.

After the PM’s speech, All India Trade Union Congress general secretary Gurudas Dasgupta said that conditions have to be created for working together but they are not there." Labour laws are being changed without talking to trade unions," he said adding there is no change in the stand of labour unions to go on a nationwide strike on September 2 in support of their 12- point charter of demand.

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh says growth should not be at the cost of workers

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