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Updated: January 31, 2013 04:50 IST

Trade unions’ opposition preventing labour reforms, says Kharge

Special Correspondent
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Union Minister for Labour and Employment M. Mallikarjun Kharge speaking at a seminar in Bangalore on Wednesday
Union Minister for Labour and Employment M. Mallikarjun Kharge speaking at a seminar in Bangalore on Wednesday

Observing that there were 44 pieces of legislation governing the conditions of employment of workers, he said, "Some of my officers do not even know the legislation they are to enforce

Union Minister for Labour and Employment M. Mallikarjun Kharge said on Wednesday that the failure to evolve a “tripartite consensus” has thwarted the government’s efforts to cut “red tape” in labour laws.

Addressing an international seminar, ‘The labour law framework: an international comparison’, organised by the Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship (XIME), Mr. Kharge said while employers and the government agree that legislation governing workers need to be “flexible”, the trade unions were against the move.

Providing a brief history of labour legislation in India, Mr. Kharge said, “The most crucial laws to protect the interests of the workers were enacted within the first five years after Independence.” The laws were aimed at promoting better industrial relations, setting minimum wages, enforcing minimum norms for working conditions and to provide social security. “The socialistic beliefs of our leaders and their humanistic vision were responsible the laws that were enacted,” he said.

Observing that there were 44 pieces of legislation governing the conditions of employment of workers, Mr. Kharge said, “Some of my officers do not even know the legislation they are to enforce.”

Comparative studies

Quoting from comparative studies of labour legislation in India and China, J. Philip, president, XIME, said the higher productivity levels in China could be attributed to the “flexibility” that characterises in China, unlike in India. The inflexible nature of labour markets in India had resulted in greater informalisation of the workforce, he contended.

E. Abraham, director, Xavier Labour Relations Institute, Jamshedpur, called for “harmonisation” of labour laws governing the IT industry.

Delegates from several countries, including the BRICS countries (Brazil, India, China and South Africa), are participating in the seminar that concludes on Thursday.

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