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.
Implications for Workers
Mr. Amitava Guha, National Secretary, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), focused his remarks on the future of Indian Trade Unions vis-à-vis the new labor codes. He reiterated how the CITU time and again submitted their own amendments to the Government when these codes were still in the process of being drafted. Further, he expressed his objection to the way they were passed in the parliament without any proper discussions and debates.
Mr. Guha explained how the codes can prove discriminatory to the agricultural workers who have failed to be taken into the purview of the codes. This meant that 49% of the entire Indian working force has been kept away. A vast amount of workers have not been covered under the threshold of these new laws.
The increase of the working hours postulated under the codes are also violative of ILO laws. The imposition of defence sector ordinances under these codes is also violative of many ILO regulations. The fixed-term employment clause will equally prove detrimental to the interest of the Indian labour force. The employers now have the choice to throw the workers at any time they want and the 5years time period given in the labour codes will not be accessible to the workers, in practical life.
The codes, thus, have legalized the process of throwing out permanent workers and substituting them with contractual workers, at the sweet whims of the employers. The 10 per cent eligibility criteria given for registration will be immensely disruptive for large firms.