On 30th March the Haryana Assembly passed several labour reform Bills amending the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Contract Labour ( Prevention and Abolition) Act,1970 Factories Act 1948, and the Payment of Wages Act 1936, moved by the Labour and Employment Minister, in the ongoing budget session.
With the intention to “facilitate Industry”, the amendment to the Industrial Disputes Act will allow industrial units with up to 300 workers to shut down and lay off workers without government permission. The position under Sec 25K of the Industrial Disputes Act requires industrial establishments which employ 100 or more workmen to obtain prior permission to retrench, lay-off, or closures thus making it easier for smaller organizations to fire the workers.
The Bill dealing with Contract Labour proposes to do away with the condition to register industrial establishments employing 50 workers required under the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act 1970
The Factories Act will now apply to factories with 40 workers, if without electricity and 20 workers, if with electricity, instead of factories with 20 workers and 10 workers respectively. This will allow small factories to be exempted from the purview of the Factories Act, 1948. Other amendments in the Factories Act added a provision to compound offences for first-time offenders so that a fine may be given instead of going to the courts.
Similar reforms were seen in BJP led Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh in 2015, where labour reforms were brought in by the state governments. It has been reported that center is encouraging state governments to do so.
On 1st April 2016 the labour unions protested and have asked for a roll back on the amendments citing the move shall empower industrialists while shadowing worker rights. In a quote the BMS General Secretary said this move shall only lead to industrial unrests.
Haryana witnessed one of the most violent industrial unrest at the Manesar plant at Maruti Suzuki and the amendments might not sit very well with the workers or their unions.
We shall keep you updated on the developments.