Govt firm on Contract Labour Act amendment

New Delhi, Jan 22 | Updated: Jan 23 2007, 05:30am hrs
Even though there is no consensus among UPA constituents on amending the Contract Labour Act, the government is moving ahead to provide considerable labour flexibility to export-oriented textile units.

This follows a group of ministers (GoM) meeting with national level trade unions for stepping up textile exports. The GoM urged labour unions to be flexible in view of the labour intensive nature of the industry, ministry sources told FE. Union leaders, in turn, wanted textile companies to provide employment guarantee to the workforce. A minimum job guarantee of 150 days a year, a pay not less than Rs 60 a day, and protection of workers rights in terms of health, safety, welfare and social security, were their key demands.

On this basis, the GoM, headed by agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, firmed up a proposal for providing a special dispensation for the industry, including relaxation of daily and weekly working hours, said a senior ministry official. The proposal is expected to come up for discussion in a meeting between the trade unions and government, to be held next month.

It might increase the daily work hours from 7 to 12 and weekly hours from the existing 48 hours to 60, the source said. If the formula works out, the states which have integrated textile parks may delegate powers of labour commissioners to development commissioners.

The GoM, comprising representatives of commerce, textile and labour ministries, was set up to review the existing policy parameters for the textile industry and remove rigidities that affected the competitiveness of domestic textile companies in the global market.