MSMEs want separate labour law, unions see red

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have joined the chorus for labour reforms, which reached a crescendo after the Rajasthan Government recently initiated steps to amend key Acts. But labour unions say they will oppose any such move.

At an interaction with the MSME Minister Kalraj Mishra held here last week, MSME organisations from across the country unanimously demanded for labour reforms and sought a separate law for the sector. They also asked for easier access to land and credit, and excise and income tax relief.

The Madhya Pradesh Small Scale Industry Organisation (MPSSIO) wanted the Government to do away with separate contributions, such as to the provident fund and Employees State Insurance (ESI) kitty and bonus. “Instead, it would be better if MSMEs are told to contribute a flat 25 per cent of their profits for worker benefits,” said a MPSSIO representative.

“A committee should be formed for unified inspection for MSMEs,” said R Reddy, who was representing pesticide manufacturers of Andhra Pradesh. He added that labour laws such as Factories Act and Boilers Act could be clubbed.

The Labour Ministry has already held a tripartite meeting on the issue on May 28, in which trade unions opposed any such move.


“We are not in favour of a single law for MSMEs. If there are problems with any specific law, we are open to discussing those,” said AK Padmanabhan, President of Centre of Indian Trade Unions, and a member of the committee. He feared that any minor change made could take away a huge chunk of factories from the labour law’s purview.

Padmanabhan said all trade unions, including BJP-led Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, had opposed to changes in some laws being pushed by the BJP-led Rajasthan Government, which has reportedly cleared amendments to the three Central laws — the Industrial Disputes Act, the Factories Act, the Contract Act — including allowing establishments employing a minimum of 300 (against 100 at present) workers to close down without prior Government approval.

This article was originally published in >The Hindu Business Line

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 8:30:26 AM |

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