In 2020, the Union Government of India finalized rule under 4 labor codes, with the aim of rebooting the economy and building a future of work that is safer, greener, and more resilient. In line with this idea, the Center for Work and Welfare (CWW), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, Indian Social Institute (ISI), New Delhi, and Counterview organized a #WebPolicyTalk on The Future of Labour Codes: Impact and Way Forward from Trade Union Perspectives under the State of Employment – #EmploymentDebate series.
Laws and Workers’ Rights
Mr Chandra Prakash Singh, National Vice President, Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), began his session describing how the employment scenario in India has changed. Employers today are keener to take in contractual workers and the new labour codes have just eased up the process more.
He remarked that there is a big conspiracy to take away the constitutional, legal, and fundamental rights of the working force. The Central Government has closed down the Indian Labour Conference since 2015 impinging upon the rights of the labour force. The Union Government is not ready to accept the ILO’s proposal as well into the codification of the labour laws.
Mr Singh is of the opinion that the Government should immediately call the Indian Labour Conference, given the economic condition of the country, labour issues that have been augmented by the Covid 19 pandemic. The Government has also completely put on hold complaints regarding issues and their grievances. Complementary to this, he reiterated Mr Guha’s remarks as to how the Government has taken away the right to agitate of the common working force.
According to Mr Singh, the labour laws have been drafted mostly to ease up the process towards privatization and for the benefit of the employers. The government in the new codes has not mentioned a single thing about the universal minimum wage, or the social security, job security of the labour force. A big question now arises about the future of these working classes.
Mr Chandra Prakash Singh while answering follow-up questions reiterated the need to view the labour movements and the farmers’ agitation separately.