Labour Panel Opposes Hire & Fire Policy

New Delhi, June 29: | Updated: Jun 30 2002, 05:30am hrs
The second National Labour Commission, which submitted its report to the Prime Minister AB Vajpayee on Saturday, has opposed introduction of a hire and fire policy and also not favoured the proposal to make closures and retrenchments easier by raising the number of workers for mandatory prior permission of the government from 100 to 1,000. The commission has suggested that it could be raised to 200 or 300.

The commission has proposed enactment of seven new labour laws including a special Small Enterprises (Employment Relations) Bill for units employing 19 workers or less; labour-management relations; wages; occupational safety and health; hours of work, leave and other working conditions at work place; child labour and unorganised sector.

Receiving the report from the commission chairman Ravindra Verma, the Prime Minister said the government would like to implement maximum number of recommendations of the commission as quickly as possible

Trying to dispel the impression that reforms meant overlooking workers interests, he said, the government policy is to work for workers welfare but in the changed scenario it has become necessary to study all aspects and then take suitable steps.

Mr Verma said while making recommendations, the commission had taken concerns of all social partners into consideration and presented a holistic picture of the labour scene.

On hire and fire policy, the commission said there was absence of a social security system and without provision for a judicial review, it would also be against the constitutional guarantee of the right to seek justice.

While making recommendations on issues relating to contract labour and need for permission from government for closure etc and the way in which the needs of the industry and basic rights and needs of workers can be balanced while employing contract labour, the commission felt that its proposals should be looked upon as providing base for a new edifice or a new era of industrial relations.

The commission has also said that competitiveness, so necessary in the age of globalisation, cannot be acquired without harmonious and peaceful industrial relations and called upon employers and employees to develop mindset which looks upon each other as partners and develop a work culture that new technology and globalisation demands.

On unorganised sector, the commission has said that a new and separate umbrella legislation is imperative as the existing laws do not offer protection and welfare to workers in the sector covering 92 per cent of the work force.

The commission, set up on October 15, 1999, was asked to suggest rationalisation of existing labour laws in the organised sector and take into account opening up of the economy, international competitiveness and the needs and demands of the future labour markets and was also asked to suggest an umbrella legislation for workers in the unorganised sector.