Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh objects to 25 points of wage code, including slapping penalty of eight-day wages if a worker strikes for a day.
INDIA Updated: Oct 25, 2017  Saubhadra Chatterji Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Folders with the label Employees and Salaries(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The trade union arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has objected to as many as 25 provisions of the proposed legislation on wages on Tuesday, setting the stage for a possible confrontation with the Centre over labour reforms.

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), arguably the country’s largest trade union, demanded that apprentice or trainees should also be defined as employee.

The BMS has maintained distance from the Left and Congress–backed trade unions since the NDA government returned to power and didn’t participate in any general strike called by other unions. The BMS had red-flagged land bill and FDI in some sectors earlier, leading to an acrimony within the Sangh Parivar.

On Tuesday, it echoed a similar line with other unions on the provision of slapping penalty of eight-day wages if a worker joins a trade union strike for a day.

“It is a black law against freedom of trade unions,” the BMS said. Communist Party of India (Marxist)-backed Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), which wants the bill to be scrapped, dubbed the provision as “draconian”. “Section 20(2) of the Wage Code says if the strike is declared illegal by the government, the penalty would be sla- pped. And, no strike can be legal, if the proposals made in the Lab- our Code on Industrial Relations are enacted,” said Tapan Sen, general secretary of the CITU.

BMS has also objected to the government’s proposal of replacing “inspectors” with “facilitat- ors” in the bill. “If this is done due to corruption in the inspectorate, it has to be addressed differently and not by eliminating the system,” said Pawan Kumar, representing the BMS at the meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on labour. Business chambers like ASSOCHAM, which support the wage code, also deposed before the panel.

Code on Wages 2017 is the first of the four bills that Centre plans to push to reform the labour sector’s archaic laws, with an eye to woo investors. The government may also face protests from Opposition on the issue.


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