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Centre Introduces 3 Key Labour Codes in Lok Sabha, Says it Will Extend Social Security to All Workers

File photo of Union Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar.

File photo of Union Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar.

The minister said that the Bills introduced will also help the employers which will bring in investment and create harmonious industrial relations in the country.

Amid ruckus in the house on Saturday, the government introduced three labour legislations, including the Code on Industrial Relations, the Social Security Code and the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Condition in the Lok Sabha.

“We have included 174 out of 233 or 74% of the recommendations of the standing committee on labour across three codes being introduced again as they have undergone substantial changes,” Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Gangwar said in Lok Sabha.

According to minister Gangwar, even the preamble of the Social Security Code has undergone changes. Before introducing the new bills with substantive changes, the minister had withdrawn the three codes tabled in the Parliament in 2019.

“The government had held nine rounds of tripartite consultations while drafting the three codes,” minister Gangwar added.

The minister said that the Bills introduced will also help the employers which will bring in investment and create harmonious industrial relations in the country.

The minister also said that these reforms will really protect the interest of workers and will provide them social security, protection, safe and working environment and effective conciliation, a mechanism for their grievances if any left.

A statutory right has been created for minimum wages and timely payment of wages to all workers whether in the organised or unorganised sector. It extends entitlement of minimum wages to all the workers in the country as against 30 per cent of the workforce, at present.

The number of minimum wage rates around the country has been reduced to 200. Earlier there were 10,000 rates.

At present, minimum wages are fixed for employment covering mainly mines sector, plantation, dock workers, building and construction workers, watch and ward, sweeping and cleaning and on manufacturing sector etc. The extension will encompass the service sector (IT, hospitality, transportation etc.), domestic workers, unorganised workers and teachers.

The codes will give powers to state governments on rules related to hiring, retrenchment and work hours in their factories and establishments while restricting powers of the workers to form unions. Besides, it will ensure the government extends social security to all, including the unorganised and gig workers in a phased manner.

Congress MP Manish Tewari objected to the introduction of the three labour codes saying labour ministry should have again consulted all stakeholders before introducing the new bills as they have undergone “substantial transformation”. Even Shashi Tharoor raised objections to the introduction of new bills saying mandatory two days of time should have been given to the House to study the Bills.

Labour minister Gangwar, however, assured that the government will take into consideration points raised during the discussion of the three bills in the House.

first published:September 19, 2020, 18:29 IST