Staff Reporter

"This is necessary in the backdrop of new dimensions in market"

CHENNAI: A rating system under which professional bodies such as the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) certify industrial units in terms of their compliance with labour laws has become necessary in the context of changes sweeping the labour market.

Stating this here Central Provident Fund Commissioner A. Viswanathan said such a system was necessitated in the backdrop of new dimensions in the market, including outsourcing and contract labour. He was inaugurating a seminar on labour law compliance organised on Saturday by the ICSI.

"We must drive towards some sort of rating system from the professional agencies," he said, pointing that in the changing scenario it was not possible for officials charged with the responsibility of ensuring compliance to do it all.

"Professionals like you must come together and formulate a certification standard," said Mr. Viswanathan.

He also favoured a system that promoted voluntary compliance by the employers with a provision that in the event of violation the punishment would be severe and handed quickly.

Voluntary compliance, he added, would also speed up labour reforms.

Labour Commissioner V.K. Subburaj said though there were 39 Central Acts pertaining to labour and focussed on its welfare there still were cases relating to non-payment of wages by employers. Tamil Nadu was a pioneer in implementing the Minimum Wages Act and this had helped the labour sector to a great extent. Child labour had also been abolished in the State, he added.

Pointing to the various changes, including growth of the information technology industry, in the labour market, he said: "We are also changing according to the changes in the society and industry." There still was a need to provide more teeth to the labour department officials.

S.M. Sundaram, advocate, said despite a plethora of laws, unfair labour practice and victimisation were still a stark reality for the labour force. Minimum wages, he added, were not being paid even in the national capital New Delhi. In this context, an audit under the labour laws in industrial units was necessary.