Government seeks to mend barriers with unions to roll out labor codes

NEW DELHI : The government seeks to resume formal negotiations with unions to ensure the smooth deployment of four labor codes and other related policy measures.

A senior labor ministry official said Union Labor Minister Bhupendra Yadav recently held a “courtesy” meeting with a dozen central unions. Yadav, who took office in July, told unions they could hold other meetings with him every Friday, either individually. or collectively, the official said.

The Ministry of Labor is also open to relaunching the Indian Conference of Labor (ILC), the annual tripartite summit meeting bringing together government, employer representatives and employee representatives on all key labor policies that have been suspended. for six years.

“The ministry wants to take the unions, and the new minister has already met them once. Yes there are differences, but the issues can be solved. Some unions have raised the issue of relaunching the ILC, “the official said on condition of anonymity.

India has consolidated 29 central labor laws into four labor codes on wages, industrial relations, occupational safety and social security. Although Parliament has passed the laws, they have yet to be implemented due to a lack of preparedness by states and industries to reserve some of the provisions. The unions have called for the codes to be reworked because they lean in favor of industries.

Confirming the meeting with Yadav, Amarjeet Kaur, general secretary of the Congress of Indian Trade Unions (AITUC), called it a courtesy visit. “Yes, there was a meeting, but it was just a first meeting of about 45 minutes to an hour to get to know each other. No political decisions were discussed, no issues relating to the labor code were discussed – nor was there an update on the reframing of the rules that the unions demanded, ”Kaur said. , adding that the reconvening of the ILC will be a key factor in gaining confidence in the strained relationship. between government and unions.

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), India’s largest trade union affiliated with RSS, also wrote to the government that the ILC meeting has not taken place in the past six years, although millions of people have turned out. found unemployed in recent years and that many others have faced reduced incomes in the formal and informal sectors.

In its letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi of July 20, BMS said that the ILC last took place in 2015. “Today several burning issues such as that of migrant workers, labor law reforms, workers in the informal sector are matters of great concern to workers. BMS said in its letter.

A second official from the Ministry of Labor said the unions’ suggestions were being evaluated and added that the new labor codes do not violate International Labor Organization rules.

Meanwhile, Gautam Mody, secretary general of the New Trade Union Initiative, said what the Ministry of Labor is promoting is more “a posture than an action”. “They want to give the feeling that they are reaching out. noted.

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