Central trade unions on Wednesday continued their opposition to a plan by the Labour Ministry to allow firms with 300 or less employees to lay off, retrench or close without the government's permission. The present policy allows employers to do all three in companies, which employ less than 100 workers.
Trade union sources claimed that if the threshold is increased, it would bring more than 80 per cent of all industries in India within the limit, ensuring full freedom for employers to "hire and fire'' at will, without waiting for a nod from the government.
The issue, which is dealt with in the Industrial Disputes Act, came up for discussion at a stormy meeting between central trade unions, labour ministry and industry representatives, like the CII, on Wednesday. The proposed change by amending the Industrial Disputes Act was strongly opposed by all trade unions including AITUC, CITU, HMS, BMS and the Congress-affiliated INTUC.
The Second Labour Commission had suggested raising the ceiling of workers from 100 to 300. Trade unions had opposed the move at the Indian Labour Conference (ILC) last year.
The industry's claim was that there were many companies with 300 or less employees that have become unviable and was thwarting investment.