(Photo: Mint)
(Photo: Mint)

RSS affiliate says proposed code is anti-labour, unions call for strike in Jan

  • The Industrial Relations Code, 2019, proposes to make it easier for an employer to engage and disengage workers based on requirement
  • Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh is the largest trade union in the country

New Delhi: Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the national trade union affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has come out against the government’s labour reforms, saying the proposed law against the interest of workers. The government tabled the Industrial Relations Code, 2019 in the Parliament on Thursday.

The Bill seeks to offer a slew of benefits to industries by curtailing compliance burden as well as employee benefits.

The Bill proposes to make it easier for an employer to engage and disengage workers based on requirement, making the process of hiring and firing smoother depending on elasticity of demand in the shop floor.

Also, to help employers check constant unionism, the bill introduces a feature of ‘recognition of negotiating union’ under which a trade union will be recognized as sole ‘negotiating union’ if it has the support of 75% or more of the workers on the rolls of an establishment. As there are several trade unions active in companies, it will be tough for a single group to manage 75% support. This, thus, takes away the negotiating rights of unions. In such a case, a negotiating council will be constituted for negotiation, according to the Bill.

BMS is the largest trade union in the country and its affiliation with the ruling political dispensation in the centre will make it difficult for the labour ministry to push the Bill through.

“(The IR code) will create a battle ground in industrial sector as its many provisions are against the interest of the workers…The present provisions prohibiting strike will make industrial sector a conflict zone destroying industrial peace...Casualisation and contractualisation is going to create explosive situation in the near future," BMS said, listing its objections against the proposed Bill.

A group of 10 central unions affiliated to different political parties had criticized the bill before it was presented in the Parliament. The unions have now called for a nationwide strike in January.

“Where is the labour welfare in this Industrial Relation Code. You want to contractualize the workforce, take their collective bargaining right, curtail their right to strike and even on mass leave. Hiring and firing is what the government seeks to formalize through this," Amarjeet Kaur, general secretary, All India Trade Union Congress, had said earlier.

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