Parliament Passes Three New Labour Codes Amid Opposition Boycott
By: Sashwata Saha
As the Opposition Members of Parliament protested outside the Parliament, the Centre remaining MPs passed three labour codes which make it easier for employees to hire and fire staff without notifying the government.
The three bills -- the Codes on Occupational Safety and Health and Working Conditions, the Industrial Relations Code and the Social Security Code, were passed in the Upper House by voice vote amid a boycott by the opposition over the suspension of eight members.
Replying to the debate on the three labour reforms bills in the house, the Union Minister of Labour Santosh Gangwar said: "The purpose of labour reforms is to provide a transparent system to suit the changing business environment."
“The new reforms universalise minimum wages, timely payment of wages and give priority to occupational safety of workers,” the Centre said, asserting that these reforms will contribute to a better working environment which will accelerate the pace of economic growth.
However, the bill will also remove impediments to winding up of companies and allow firing of staff without government permission in firms with up to 300 workers from the existing 100, a move aimed at attracting more investments and job creation. It will be valid in 16 states.
While the Opposition might not have been there to vote on its passing, these bills have gone through a full committee process. They were presented in 2019 and went to Parliament’s committee on labour, which has 31 members. Out of these, 16 are from the BJP and three from Congress, including senior leader Oscar Fernandes.
Meanwhile, the ruling BJP on Thursday termed the opposition’s politics “directionless” as it took a dig at its rivals for complaining to President Ram Nath Kovind over the passage of some key bills while “abdicating” the right to speak in Parliament.
The committee had suggested 100 changes in the original laws drafted by the government, of which 74 are now implemented.
The industrial relations code subsumes three existing laws — the Trade Unions Act, 1926, the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, and Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
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