Ravi S Singh
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 12
Differences surfaced among Central Trade Unions with regard the “Consultative” meeting which was convened by Union Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar on Tuesday to discuss government’s draft “Rules” framed under labour Codes.
The two Codes, which have been passed by Parliament, are on Social Security and Occupational Safety, Health (OSH) and Working Conditions.
While as many as 10 unions, dominated by those leaning to the Left, boycotted the meeting in protest against the Ministry’s alleged plan to hold it through video-conference, BMS, TUCC and NFITU attended it.
Those which boycotted the meeting included INTUC, AITUC, CITU, HMS, SEWA and LPF.
The protesting unions were also against the Ministry’s move to hold discussions on the two Codes on a single day.
The meeting was “tripartite”, involving workers’ representatives, employers and the Ministry.
Although the meeting was held through video-conference, the Ministry tweaked the earlier format to also allow participation of the unions’ representatives physically.
During the discussions BMS opposed the proposal for lowering the cap on earned leave in the OSH draft rules.
The rules proposed cap of 240 days generally on earned leave, 90 days for journalists and 120 days for sales representatives.
BMS leaders demanded raising of the limit of earned leave to 300 days for all.
“The present proposal to lower the cap is a great loss for those who have sacrificed their right for leave and worked for their employers,” BMS national functionary Pawan Kumar, who took part in the meeting, said.
The BMS’ other demands include increasing the eligibility criteria of EPF scheme from a monthly salary of Rs 15,000 to Rs 21,000 to make it on par with the ESI scheme.
“The Rules should provide that ESI benefits should continue to be provided to the employees even after crossing the Rs 21,000 salary cap.”
BMS objected the filling up of tripartite committees with bureaucrats and technocrats and avoiding sufficient representation of trade unions.
Also, it demanded broadening of definition of wages to include all the allowances.