Ravi S Singh
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 21
The meeting convened by Union Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar on Wednesday to discuss draft rules of the Union government’s four Labour Codes yet again witnessed sharp division among Central Trade Unions (CTUs) in line with their ideological moorings.
It was the third meeting in the series convened by Gangwar concerning the rules, but the Unions remained divided as in the earlier two meetings.
While a group of 10 unions dominated by Left-leaning orientation outrightly rejected the Codes at the meeting, other four including the RSS-affiliate BMS pushed for amendments to the proposed rules.
The meeting was “tripartite involving workers’ representatives, employers and the Union government for “consultation” and build consensus on the proposed rules.
The Parliament had passed the Codes to ring in reforms to labour laws by subsuming 40 extant laws or streamlining them.
The government has to frame the rules to make the Codes operational.
Those opposed to the Codes per se are INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC.
Leaders of these unions told Gangwar during the meeting that they were not in a position to discuss on the Codes which have been already rejected by them.
They demanded putting the Codes on hold, and to initiate discussions on each of them afresh with the CTUs.
These unions had boycotted the earlier two consultation meetings convened by Gangwar on grounds, including that they were held virtually.
On the other hand, BMS at the meeting today demanded protection of contract workers in Codes. It objected to the exclusion of contract labour from their purview up to 50 workers.
BMS leaders demanded that strict compliance of ESI and EPF by contractors must be provided in the laws.
BMS Pawan Kumar said it was also demanded that “employer’s liability” to pay wages, EPF, ESI and other benefits should be ensured even when in the condition when one contract worker was employed.
Also, government establishments should not be exempted from the ambit of the Codes.
BMS other demands include scrapping the proposal for “fixed employment”, and provision of financial support for welfare schemes.
Meanwhile, sources said the series of consultation meetings regarding the rules with stake-holders by the Ministry is over, and the government will finalise them soon.