Central trade unions urge govt to put four labour codes on hold, start afresh discussions
The Modi government passed the four labour codes in a hurry in the Parliament under the pressure of big corporates, they have alleged
The Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions (CTUs) in a statement on January 20 urged the government of India to put on hold all the four codes and start afresh discussions with the CTUs on each of the labour codes in the true spirit of bipartite and tripartite consultations.
The Modi government passed the four labour codes in a hurry in the Parliament without adequate consultations in the session and the central trade unions views also were not taken into account before finalizing the codes.
The codes relate to the security of service and occupational hazards of the workers. So the trade unions find it reprehensible how such a vital decision was taken by the government without giving adequate time for discussions. Also what was the hurry in passing the legislations during the pandemic.
The joint platform of Central Trade unions — AITUC, INTUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC — have rejected the move of the government to frame rules on the labour codes which were passed in the Parliament without any discussion with the Central Trade Unions or in the Parliament, when all the Opposition Members of Parliament were absent as they were on a boycott demanding the withdrawal of expulsion of some MPs.
Some MPs had even given in writing to the government that the labour codes should not be placed in a hurry and that there is a need for serious discussions on such an important matter with trade unions and also inside the Parliament which concerns the life of more than 50 crore workforce of the country.
But the government went ahead flouting the parliamentary norms and bypassing the tripartite consultation in violation and disregard to the international commitments on international labour standards and the ILO Conventions of which India is a signatory. The CTUs have already opposed the arbitrary decision taken by the government to tinker with 40 labour laws and reducing these laws into four codes.
In a physical meeting convened by the Ministry of Labour and Employment on January 20, the ten CTUs have categorically stated that when the CTUs have already rejected the four labour codes, they are not in a position to discuss the rules being framed on these four codes.
The fact is that the even the proposals given by the CTUs on these four labour codes, when these were put in public domain without any prior consultation and involvement of unions in drafting of these laws which was against the procedures in such matter, were not given any cognizance by the government.
Moreover, the draft labour codes which were posted in the public domain and the one which was approved by the Cabinet and subsequently passed in the Parliament flouting parliamentary procedures and norms were totally different.
Further, the recommendations made by the Parliament Standing Committee on three labour codes were also rejected by the government. And the government is not serious either on bipartite discussions or tripartite discussions in accordance with ILO conventions.
The CTUs have charged that the government has rushed with the legislations under the pressure of the big corporates.
The CTUs demanded that all the four codes should be put on hold and then discussions should start with the CTUs on each of the labour codes afresh in the true spirit of bipartite and tripartite consultations. They said that we do not accept this meeting as consultation but a farce to camouflage consultations. The CTUs also protested against the non-holding of the Indian Labour Conference for the past five years.
Government ministers are having discussions with the farmers’ unions since their satyagraha started on November 26 last year. After multiple rounds of discussions, the farmers’ unions are still sticking to the repeal of three farm laws. The government has come down to the position that the farm laws should be kept in abeyance for 18 months and the farmers should withdraw the movement. But the farmers have refused and they are sticking to the repeal of laws right now.
The CTUs are also looking for keeping in abeyance the implementation of four labour codes and then starting of discussions code by code. That way, both the farmers and the workers are in a big fight with the Modi government. They are the builders of the country’s economy but they are being neglected by the Modi government.
The CTUs are with the farmers and the battle against the government will enter a new phase.