Labour Bills meets with protest

Opposition demands that be referred to the Standing Committee on Labour

Published - July 24, 2019 12:35 am IST - NEW DELHI

Minister of State for Labour and Employment Santosh Gangwar. File

Minister of State for Labour and Employment Santosh Gangwar. File

The government on Tuesday introduced the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill, 2019 and the Code on Wages Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha amid protests from the Opposition that the move was being made at the behest of employers and not trade unions.

Opposing the introduction of the Bill, Adhir Ranjan Chowdury, Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, said that the Bills should be sent to a Standing Committee for scrutiny. He said it would be a “grave injustice” if the Bill was not sent to a parliamentary panel for scrutiny. The Bills also needed more time to be allocated for discussion, Mr. Chowdhury said.

N.K. Premachandran of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and Saugata Roy of the Trinamool demanded that the Bills be sent to parliamentary panels for scrutiny, saying their passage will have large-scale ramifications.

Mr. Roy said the government was referring to scrutiny reports on the Bill dating back to 2002, but held no consultations lately, adding that the Bills were being pushed at the behest of employers and not trade unions.

‘Consultations held’

Mr. Gangwar said the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code was sent to the Standing Committee during the previous Lok Sabha, adding that the legislation had been drafted after consulting 13 workers’ organisations and that he would try to assuage concerns raised by the members.

On opposition to the introduction of the Bill, especially the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Code, Mr. Gangwar asked the House to allow the introduction of the Bills, for the House to take a call later. The introduction of the Bills then took place.

The government said it sought to bring in the next wave of labour reforms through these Bills that would subsume 17 Bills and improve the ease of doing business.

The OSH Code simplifies, amalgamates and rationalises the provisions of 13 Central labour laws into a concise volume with certain important changes.

It would apply to all establishments having 10 or more workers, other than those relating to mines and docks.

It provides the concept of one registration for all establishments having 10 or more employees and constitution of the National Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Board to give recommendations at the Central and State levels.

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