Big industries don’t observe uniform labour standards in India: Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh at ILO meet

BMS chief Hiranmay Pandya said workers face low wages, lack of job security and social security benefits, and had to suffer poor working conditions this year

December 07, 2022 07:47 pm | Updated 07:48 pm IST - Singapore

In his intervention during a discussion on the report presented by ILO Director General Gilbert F. Houngbo, BMS national president Hiranmay Pandya said the mass migration of labour from one country to other and within the country is a key labour problem which requires an appropriate frame of laws. File

In his intervention during a discussion on the report presented by ILO Director General Gilbert F. Houngbo, BMS national president Hiranmay Pandya said the mass migration of labour from one country to other and within the country is a key labour problem which requires an appropriate frame of laws. File | Photo Credit: AFP

On the second day of the Asia Pacific Regional Meeting of the International Labour Organisation (APRM of ILO), representatives of workers and employers from India on Wednesday highlighted the employment situation in the country. While employers hailed the Union government’s steps to “help” workers and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) during the pandemic, the workers’ side said big industry do not follow labour practices in India. The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and the All India Organisation of Employers (AIOE), an allied body of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), presented their views a day after international trade unions attacked the Centre’s labour policies at the meeting.

In his intervention during a discussion on the report presented by ILO Director General Gilbert F. Houngbo, BMS national president Hiranmay Pandya said the mass migration of labour from one country to other and within the country is a key labour problem which requires an appropriate frame of laws. “Workers in the informal and formal sectors need to be provided health protection,” he demanded.

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Mr. Pandya said gigantic industries and MNCs do not observe uniform labour standards in the country. “During the pandemic, contractual workers in the organised and government sectors faced difficulties with wages too,” he said, and added that in this year, workers faced low wages, lack of job security and social security benefits and had to suffer poor working conditions. M. Pandya said the decent works deficits are associated with big industries and MNCs.

In his intervention, AIOE vice president Alok B. Shriram said that during the pandemic, the Indian government came forward with stimulus packages to provide immediate relief to vulnerable sections of society by ensuring provision of food grains at the doorstep. He said prudent steps by the Finance Ministry also helped the MSMEs during the crisis.

He said by introducing four Labour Codes, India successfully completed the task of simplification, rationalisation and codification of labour laws in the country. “These labour reforms not only ensure ease of doing business but also give top priority to social security and occupational safety and health,” he said.

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Earlier, participating in a discussion on “Institutional framework to support transition towards formality and decent work” during the APRM, Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) leader Sonia George said the informal economy is challenging the existing norms of employment relations. “In most cases, employers will be absent or invisible and there are no ways to locate the employers. This legitimises the need for alternate forms of employment relationships. Role of the state as an employer is very important in many livelihood mechanisms. Public spaces, commons, group initiatives, etc., are examples of such forms of livelihood where state has an important role to play,” Ms. George said.

Owen Tudor, deputy general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation said the unbalanced growth in the Asia Pacific region fails to equitably share the fruits of productivity with workers. He added that there is an urgency to tackle the emergencies of climate change, the pandemic and the war through social justice. He condemned the arrests of trade union leaders in various parts of the country. “Killing trade unionists, harassing them and even suspending social dialogue is morally wrong. These must stop. No trade unionist is a traitor or terrorist,” he said in his speech as an observer representing workers.

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