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Jaitley talks of Legislative Reforms to Simplify Labour Laws; Unions smell a rat


In a sign that does not augur well for the labour in the organised sector, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting his budget proposals for the fiscal 2017-18 on Wednesday announced that legislative reforms will be undertaken to `Simplify, Rationalize and Amalgamate’ the existing Labour Laws.

Mr.  Jaitley while presenting the General Budget 2017-18 in Parliament said that the Government is keen on fostering a `conducive’ labour environment wherein labour rights are protected and harmonious labour relations lead to higher productivity. Legislative reforms will be undertaken to simplify, rationalize and amalgamate the existing labour laws into 4 Codes on (i) wages; (ii) industrial relations; (iii) social security and welfare; and (iv) safety and working conditions.

The Finance Minister further said that the Model Shops and Establishment Bill 2016 has been circulated to all States for consideration and adoption. This would open-up additional avenues for employment of women. The amendment made to the Payment of Wages Act, is another initiative of our Government for the benefit of the labour and ease of doing business.

The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) was quick to read the writing on the wall. D.L. Sachadev, Secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) in a statement issued here lamented that the Union budget does not provide for employment generation. He said that the central trade unions to meet soon to decide the action programme against `anti worker’ provisions of the budget.

The sign of nervousness among the trade unions is understandable in recent months the Union Government through gazette notifications effected several changes to the Acts passed by Parliament adversely impacting the labour interests.

This is the backdrop to the statement, issued here hours after the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget for 2017-2018, by the AITUC leader. He contended that in the name of easy doing business, the budget presented by the Finance Minister of India has given more tax concessions to the corporate world by reducing the tax rates while totally inadequate relief has been given to small and medium scale industries which provide and create employment.

According to him the social allocation for health and education has also not been increased. There is a nominal increase of a few hundred crores for jobs under MNREGA. No compensation has been given for loss of jobs and wages to the people who have suffered due to demonetisation. The scheme workers have also not been provided any relief. Listing of PSUs in the stock market and further liberalization of FDI is also against national interest. The Finance Minister has unusually mentioned passing of labour law related codes which do not fall under his domain.

Mr. Sachdeva said that the Central Trade Unions will meet soon to decide the action programme against anti worker provisions of the budget."

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