Labour laws and policies in the country should be guided by a tripartite mechanism and not Niti Aayog, newly appointed Vice-Chairman of Standing Committee on Labour Saji Narayanan said today. “It is the tripartite body (system) which should formulate the policy related to labour and not the Niti Aayog,” said Narayanan, former national president of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, while addressing the 48th Session of Standing Labour Committee today. The meeting of the committee is an annual feature where agenda for Indian Labour Conference is set. The conference is also called Indian Labour Parliament where issues related to workers deliberated upon for guiding country’s labour laws and police.
Narayanan’s comments were in response to the Niti Aayog proposal of labour reforms and its recommendations like fixed term employment to boost economic activity in the country in its draft three-year action agenda presented before its Governing Council meeting headed by the prime minister with all chief ministers on its board on April 23, 2017. Narayanan said, “No other body can say something against it (tripartite system for labour reforms) but Niti Aayog is often violating that principle. They are bringing something like labour law reforms. It is not at all discussed with trade unions. It is not heard by any tripartite body.”
He alleged, “The Aayog did not discuss the fixed term employment (proposal) in the tripartite body. They are dictating that. That is not the method (proper way). That is not congenial to our tripartite culture.” Explaining further, he said, “Niti Aayog should have done some intellectual exercise with stakeholdrs.” He was of the view that the tripartite forum like Indian Labour Conference should guide the labour policy of the country as directed by the Supreme Court also. He said, “The system is working in the country for the last 6-7 decades.
It was formulated by none other than a visionary like Dr B R Ambedkar. The tripartite culture is responsible for all labour laws and reforms in the country. It is also model functioning in the International Labour Organisation (ILO).” In its draft agenda, the Aayog has pressed for substantive reforms in labour laws to take the country out of the current low-productivity and low-wage jobs situation. It has also said that unifying the existing large number of labour laws into four codes without reforming them will serve little purpose.