Don’t amend labour law to hire contractual workers for permanent jobs, BMS tells govt | india news | Hindustan Times
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Don’t amend labour law to hire contractual workers for permanent jobs, BMS tells govt

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, the labour wing of the RSS says the proposed amendment of the labour law will rob workers of job security and will have a sociological impact in the long run.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2018 10:27 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
File photo of workers making gear parts for cranes inside a workshop in Mumbai.
File photo of workers making gear parts for cranes inside a workshop in Mumbai. (Reuters)

The labour wing of the RSS, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) wants the Union labour ministry to drop its proposed amendment to the Contract Labour Act that allows for contractual hiring in jobs that were considered permanent or perennial.

The RSS offshoot that claims to represent over 5000 trade unions, said it will oppose the amendment to the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 that classifies permanent jobs as core and non-core, thereby allowing the hiring of contractual employees for certain category of jobs.

BMS president CK Saji Narayanan said the government’s assertion that this amendment will help improve production and the state of industry is “flawed” and he will put his objection on record at the tripartite meeting called by the labour ministry on Friday.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) makes it mandatory for tripartite meetings to be held before labour laws are finalised.

“What it means is that those workers who are directly engaged in production work in an industrial unit will be designated as core workers and those who work in ancillary sections such as office attendants, gardeners or clerical staff would be non-core workers and will be hired on contract. This system will rob workers of job security and will have sociological impact in the long run,” Narayanan said about the proposed amendment.

The law currently prohibits hiring contractual labour for perennial jobs even in the same establishment or in similar establishment related to it.

“It is the perennial nature of a job that distinguishes it from contract labour as per section 10(2)(b) of the Labour Act. Core and non-core distinction cannot be a substitute for the perennial distinction in nature of work and this has been recommended by the 2nd National Commission on Labour as well,” the BMS president said.

In the past, the BMS has criticised government’s policy of demonetisation, claiming it adversely impacted the small and medium sectors. It also slammed the government for failing to offer equal wages for equal work for contractual employees and for not bringing them into the ambit of insurance and other social benefits.

“All reforms must have a human face. To say that labour laws are responsible for the decline in production is a fallacy. Even the World Bank has recognised that labour laws are not a hindrance to industrial progress, but are essential to maintain industrial peace. It has dropped labour as a limiting factor from the ease of doing business,” he said.

The BMS leader said the Union government should call a meeting of all stakeholders to probe the real reasons for industrial failure, instead of attributing it to labour laws.

Concerned by job losses due to declining production and economic slowdown, the BMS had asked the government last year for a stimulus package towards labour intensive sectors and double the work days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee programme.