After farmers, govt targeting workers: Rahul Gandhi on passage of labour bills

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Updated: Sep 24, 2020 1:46 PM

Parliament on Wednesday approved three key labour reform bills that will remove impediments to winding up companies and allow firms with up to 300 workers to fire staff without government permission.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress on Thursday attacked the government over three labour reform bills passed by Parliament with former party chief Rahul Gandhi alleging that workers were the target after farmers.

Parliament on Wednesday approved three key labour reform bills that will remove impediments to winding up companies and allow firms with up to 300 workers to fire staff without government permission. The earlier limit was 100 workers.

Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra took to Twitter to criticise the government on the bills.

“After farmers, workers have been targeted, Exploitation of the poor, nurturing of ‘friends’, This is Modi ji’s rule,” Rahul Gandhi said in a three-line verse in Hindi.

Priyanka Gandhi, who also tweeted in Hindi, hit out at the government for its priorities and said the need of the hour in this difficult time is to ensure that everyone’s livelihood is protected.

“Look at the BJP government’s priority. The BJP government has brought in a law that will make it easier to remove employees from their jobs,” she said.

The government, the Congress leader added, has made committing “atrocities” easier.

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed by voice vote the three labour codes on industrial relations, social security and occupational safety amid a boycott by opposition parties, including the Congress and the Left, over the suspension of eight MPs. The Labour codes were passed by the Lok Sabha earlier.

“The purpose of labour reforms is to provide a transparent system to suit the changed business environment,” Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar had said in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday while replying to the debate on the three labour reforms bills.

The minister also told the House that as many as 16 states have already increased the threshold for closure, lay off and retrenchment in firms with up to 300 workers without government permission.

The Opposition has also been protesting the passage of three agriculture-related bills — Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020. They have been passed by both Houses and await presidential assent.

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