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A Brief Note on Labour Laws in India With Special Reference to the Recommendations of 2nd National Commission on Labour Issues

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   A brief note on Labour Laws in India with special reference to the recommendations of 2nd National Commission on Labour Issues  _____________________________________________________ The labour laws of our country srcinated partly from the views expressed by important nationalist leaders during the period of freedom movement, partly from the debates of the Constituent Assembly and partly from the provisions of the Constitution and the International Conventions and Recommendations. Under the Constitution of India, Labour is a subject in the concurrent list where both the Central and State Governments are competent to enact legislations. As a result , a large number of labour laws have been enacted catering to different aspects of labour. The dignity of labour and the need for protecting their interests has been enshrined in Chapter-III (Articles 16, 19, 23 & 24) and Chapter IV (Articles 39, 41, 42, 43, 43A & 54) of the Constitution of India keeping in line with Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy. The Labour Laws were also influenced by the human rights and the International Conventions and Standards. These include right to work of one’s choice, right against discr imination, prohibition of child labour, just and humane conditions of work, social security, protection of wages, redress of grievances, right to organise and form trade unions, collective bargaining and participation in management. Our labour laws have also been significantly influenced by the deliberations of the various Sessions of the Indian Labour Conference and the International Labour Conference. Labour legislations have also been shaped and influenced by the recommendations of the various National Committees and Commissions such as First National Commission on Labour (1969) under the Chairmanship of Justice Gajendragadkar, National Commission on Rural Labour (1991), Second National Commission on Labour (2002) under the Chairmanship of Shri Ravindra Varma etc. National Commissions on Labour issues  ______________________________________________________ The First National Commission on Labour was constituted on 24.12.1966 which submitted its report in August, 1969. The first National Labour Commission had promised lot in the direction of social security, social  welfare, social insurance, wages and collective bargaining etc,. In sequel to the recommendations made in the report of the first national commission on labour series of labour enactments were passed. after detailed examination of all aspects of labour problems, both in the organised and unorganised sector. The need for setting up of the Second National Commission on Labour was felt due to huge number of changes occurring in the economy especially in the 90’s due to globalization, liberalization and privatization. The Second National Commission on Labour was given two point terms of reference: i) to suggest rationalisation of existing laws relating to labour in the organised sector; ii) to suggest an umbrella legislation for ensuring a minimum level of protection to the workers in the unorganised sectors; The Commission submitted its Report to the Government on 29.06.2002. The Commission has comprehensively covered various aspects of labour and given recommendations relating to review of laws, social security, women & child labour, wages, skill development, labour administration, unorganized sector etc. The recommendations of Second National Commission on labour include the following: ã introducti on of umbrella legislation for workers in the unorganized sector and agricultural labour, ã emphasis on up -gradation and development of skill of workforce by training/retraining of workers, ã encouragement of small scale industries, agri -business and rural sector for higher employment generation, ã bringing attitudinal change and change in the mindset and work culture where the employer and the worker work as partners with emphasis on participative management, ã consolidation of social security legislations and establishment of social security system, ã abolition of child labour . ã Review of wages and wage policy   ã Labour statistic and research work etc.     The Ministry had held consultations and interactions with the workers representatives, employers’ organizations, experts, professionals etc.  After the number of discussions the recommendations of Second National Labour Commission were taken into consideration while framing the amendments in labour laws. General Recommendations  _____________________________________________________ Following are the general recommendations made by the commission 1. The Commission recommend that the Central Government and the State Government should have a uniform policy on holidays, only 3 national holidays be gazetted - namely Independence Day, Republic Day and Gandhi Jayanti. Two more days may be added to be determined by each State according to its own tradition and apart from these each person must be allowed to avail of 10 restricted holidays in the year. 2. Flexibility in the hours of work per week and compensation for overtime. 3. Attempt to change the basis of tenure in all jobs (permanent as well as non-permanent) to contractual and for stipulated periods, involves a basic change in attitude and concept. If transforming the basis of all employment is a social necessity because it has become economic necessity for industrial and commercial enterprises, then, it is equally necessary to create social acceptability for the change and the social institutions that can take care of the consequences. The fundamental changes are ã evolution of socially accepted consensus on the new perceptional job s ã the evolution of a system of constant up -gradation of employability through training in a wide spectrum of multiple skills ã the setting up of a system of social security that includes unemployment insurance and provisions for medical facilities; and  ã the institution of a mandatory system of two contracts - one, an individual contract and two, a collective contract with workers union. 4. The commission recommends that government may laid down list of highly paid jobs who are presently deemed as workman category as being outside the purview of the laws relating to workman and included in the proposed law for protection of non-workmen. Another alternative is that the Govt. fix a cut off limit of remuneration which is substantially high enough, in the present context such as Rs.25,000/- p.m. beyond which employee will not be treated as ordinary workman . 5. Further the Commission recommended that it would be logically to keep all the supervisory personnel, irrespective of their wages / salary, outside the rank of worker and keep them out of the purview of labour law meant for workers. All such supervisory category of employees should be clubbed along with the category of persons who discharge managerial and administrative functions. The Commission would also recommend that such a modified definition of worker could be adopted in all the labour laws. 6. Existing set of labour laws should be broadly grouped into four or five groups of laws pertaining to: I. Industrial relations II. Contract Labour III. Wages IV. Social security  V. Welfare, working conditions Safety I. Industrial Relations and Trade Unions  ______________________________________________________ ã It is necessary to provide minimum level of protection to managerial and other (excluded) employees too against unfair dismissal or removal. This has to be through adjudication by Labour court or Labour Relations Commission or arbitration. ã Central laws relating to the subject of labour relations are currently the ID Act, 1947, The TU Act, 1926, Industrial Employment (SO) Act, 1946,
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