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Maharashtra govt calls workers’ unions for talks on amending law that will facilitate layoffs

Amendments aimed at facilitating closure of factories and retrenchments; state schedules meeting on Wednesday after facing criticism

mumbai Updated: Nov 22, 2017 12:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
At their meeting with the state on Wednesday, the unions will oppose all proposed amendments to the Act.(HT File)

After receiving flak from trade unions and Opposition parties for the proposed amendment in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, which facilitates the closure of factories and firing of workers, the Maharashtra government has decided to hold talks with representatives of central unions.

At their meeting with the state government on Wednesday afternoon, the unions have decided to oppose all the proposed amendments in the Act, and also demand that the state repeal amendments made in other labour laws in the past two years. Labour minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar will be meeting the union representatives.

The government has proposed an amendment that would make it easier for factories with less than 300 workers to close down their business or lay off workers without prior permission of labour authorities in the state government. At present, such permission is granted only to factories that have a worker strength of 100.

Barring 1,365 units, around 37,000 factories in the state will benefit from this amendment, as reported earlier in Hindustan Times.

Trade unions, including Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh and Bhartiya Kamgar Sena , which are workers’ wings of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena, respectively, have opposed the amendment. The unions have also warned the government that they would launch a state-wide protest and call for a bandh across Maharashtra, if the proposed amendments are not withdrawn.

The government decided to hold talks with union representatives after realising the extent of the opposition.

“We have decided to oppose the proposal in toto as it’s going ruin workers and workers’ movements,” said Vishwas Utagi, convenor of the Trade Unions Joint Action Committee. “There are proposals to change the definition of workers, belittling him and making it akin to bonded labour. They have also proposed to limit the time period for workers’ dues and disputes to three years . We are opposing these proposals.”

The Committee will also demand that amendments made by the BJP-led government to the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act and Factories Act in the past two years be repealed, Utagi added.

First Published: Nov 22, 2017 12:04 IST