Indian Industrial Relations Association

Maruti Case - a repeat pattern of years gone by

On March 23, hundreds of workers of automobile manufacturing factories in Manesar, Haryana, staged a demonstration. It was a show of solidarity with 13 former workers of Maruti Suzuki India Limited [MSIL] who were handed life sentences on March 18 for the death of a manager during rioting at the plant in 2012.

Permanent and contract workers (employed on seven-month contracts) of MSLI and Honda Motorcycle [HMSI] and Scooter India Private Limited [SIPL] – which operate the two largest automobile plants in Manesar – joined the demonstration and public meeting, as did workers from over 20 vendor companies that supply automobile parts to both companies.

Earlier , hours after the sentencing in a Gurgaon court, the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union [MSWU], too, had organised a one-hour “tool down” protest at all four of the company’s plants and at two others owned by vendor companies. They had a national protest on April 4.

Manesar and industrial conflict

Manesar, 40 km from Delhi, has long been associated with protests and industrial unrest. It happened in 2011-’12, too, when thousands of Maruti Suzuki employees struck work thrice demanding better conditions, a new union, and equal employment terms for permanent and contract workers. As a result of the intermittent strikes over a year, MSIL – India’s largest automobile manufacturer – suffered a loss of Rs 2,500 crores and saw a 6% drop in its market share.

The workers registered the MSWU in February 2012. But five months later, on July 18, their conflict with their employers turned violent over their demand to re-instate a suspended worker. In the rioting that followed, senior manager Awanish Kumar Dev died of suffocation in a burning building with multiple fractures in his leg. Several other managers were injured.

On March 18, 2017, the Gurgaon additional district and sessions court sentenced 13 workers – all 12 members of the union and the suspended worker, Jia Lal – to life imprisonment, having pronounced them guilty of Dev’s murder on March 10. It acquitted 117 other Maruti workers after they spent more than four years in prison.

Many workers, some of whom had worked alongside the convicted workers, questioned the court’s judgement. “With this verdict, the government is trying to give us a message, ‘Workers, do not try to organise again like this’,” said Gurmukh Singh, who has been with Maruti’s Manesar factory since 2008. “All workers must only labour, not ask for anything.”  He added, “There is no evidence that these 13 workers killed Dev. He died when there was a stampede and riot-like situation, the evidence shows no one fatally injured him. The verdict is excessive.”

Nihal Kumar Singh, a contract worker constituting two-thirds of the company’s workforce – said he believed even the managers knew the verdict was unfair.

“Our managers had put up a notice in the factory stating that if any worker stops work after the verdict, the company will deduct eight days’ pay,” said the 23-year-old from Jharkhand who joined the factory three months ago. “After the verdict, the permanent workers organised a one-hour tool down, stopping work. Everyone in the plant and five other plants nearby stopped work, but the company did not cut our pay. They too know what has happened to the workers is wrong.”

Gursharan Singh, a permanent employee with STI Sanoh India Private Limited Manesar, which supplies brake pipes to Maruti Suzuki, joined the demonstration, marching through Manesar with 15 of his colleagues. He, too, said the verdict was the government’s and industry’s way of “telling workers not to form unions”. But he added that “many unions and associations have been formed in the past five years, by Belsonica Auto workers, at Satyam Motors, and several others are in process”.

Others described the events of 2011-’12 and the court verdict as the continuation of an industry-worker tussle that has been going on at Manesar for years. Vijay Kumar, who has worked at Maruti’s factory assembly shop for eight years, recalled an incident from way before the 2012 rioting. “In 2006, the police beat 800 workers of Honda, and several workers were dismissed after they demanded a union and reinstatement of terminated workers,” the 32-year-old said. “The police had filed police cases against 60 Honda workers then, even charging them with attempted murder, rioting.”

He added, “But despite what happened to Honda workers , we went on strike in 2011, and despite what happened to us, Belsonica Auto and IFMI and other vendor companies’ workers have tried to form new associations in the last four years.”

Gursharan Singh agreed. “Workers keep forming associations, this is not a pattern the industry can stop,” he said. “They put pressure on workers, workers fight for reducing this pressure and for gaining more rights. Every worker needs this.”

On the assembly line

The factory workers maintained they have legitimate grievances and work in difficult conditions. In most plants, the assembly line is geared to produce a car every 50 seconds to 60 seconds, leaving those manning the line with little opportunity to take a break for even a few minutes during their eight-hour shifts, they pointed out.

“Most workers are hard-pressed and under constant pressure,” said Ravinder Sharma, a 20-year-old temporary worker with Maruti whose job is to stand in one place and install an engine part every time a car rolls off the assembly line, 490 times a day. “I weighed 65 kg when I joined, and I probably do not weigh even 50 kg now,” he said.

“One week you work on a shift that starts at 6.30 am, and the next week you are on a shift that ends at midnight,” he added. “By the end, you cannot sleep anymore, whether it is day or night. If you fall ill, you do not want to take more than two [days’] leaves in three months, or the ‘good work’ component of Rs 3,100 will be deducted from your salary.” Sharma is paid Rs 13,500 a month, a third of what permanent workers earn.

The permanent employees have their own complaints. They pointed out that after the 2012 incident, the company had started hiring the majority of its workers on seven-month contracts, which made coordination between permanent and temporary staff difficult.

Sharma said he had joined the protest on Thursday afternoon after working the morning shift. “The temporary workers had joined the meal boycott too two days before the verdict,” he said. “Saath dena toh sab ka hi zaroori hai. It is important that everyone cooperates.”

Ram Kumar, who works with a two-wheeler plant in Manesar, hired through a thekedar or contractor. “The company removes us every year and then makes us re-join by sending an email,” said the 24-year old who moved to Manesar for work from Agra. He has been a contract employee at the firm for seven years through this system.

Kumar assembles accelerators on an assembly line that produces three motorcycles every 57 seconds. “The permanent workers’ union has also been trying to negotiate for our wages,” he said. “We finished the work shift and reached here [to participate in the demonstration] with them.”

Among the protesting workers are some who were recently dismissed from RGP Industries, Binola and Omax Auto’s plant in Dharuhera. “The company removed 344 contract workers, and suspended 18 union body members without any notice on February 1,” said Prakash Singh, a worker from the Omax Auto plant in Manesar. “Two weeks later, on February 13, Ajay Pandey, a migrant from Chhapra in Bihar, killed himself, hanging himself from the ceiling of his room,” he added. “If companies terminate workers without notice or without any cause after they have worked there for 15 to 16 years, where will they go?”

Omax Auto has denied that the 35-year-old worker committed suicide because he was dismissed from work. It has stated that Pandey had been unwell since September, and had been missing from duty without notifying his employer.

Maruti 2012 riot case: 13 gets life imprisonment

The court had convicted 31 employees of Maruti Suzuki's Manesar plant, including 13 of murder, on March 10 and pronounced the quantum of punishment on Saturday.  [Updated: March 18, 2017]

NEW DELHI: A Gurugram court on Saturday sentenced 13 persons to life and four other accused to a five-year jail term in the Maruti Suzuki factory violence case.  Angry with the verdict, workers across Maruti Suzuki India plants in Gurgaon-Manesar is going on a strike on Saturday, March 18 from 9-10 PM.

The court had convicted 31 employees of Maruti Suzuki's Manesar plant, including 13 of murder, on March 10 and pronounced the quantum of punishment Saturday. The court also said that the sentence served by 14 other convicts was sufficient.  While delivering the verdict on March 10, the judge had acquitted 117 of the 148 employees named in the charge sheet in the case for want of evidence.

In July 2012, Awanish Kumar Dev, the then general manager (human resources) at Maruti Suzuki's Manesar plant, was burnt to death during a labour unrest. Both his arms and legs were broken and he could not escape when the building was later set on fire. His charred body could only be recognised through a tooth implant.

In all, 94 managers and supervisors and nine policemen were injured in the attack. Around 145 workers were charged with rioting with weapons, murder, attempt to murder, unlawful assembly, assault, and trespass, among others. Eleven of them are still in jail, while the others are out on bail.

Implementation of Labour Laws in the Country

 The Planning Commission had set up a Working Group on “Labour Laws & Other Labour Regulations” for the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-17) under the Chairpersonship of Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment . Since the Working Group on “Labour Laws & Other Labour Regulations” had been set up by the Planning Commission for finalization of the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-17), the report of the Working Group containing the recommendations has been submitted to the Planning Commission. The recommendations of the Working Group for improving enforcement of labour laws are as under:

 Recommendations for Improving Enforcement of Labour Laws

 Strengthening of enforcement machinery by way of increasing the manpower, improving infrastructure, etc. is essential for effective implementation of labour laws. At present the ratio of enforcement officer to industrial establishment is very low. Over the years the number of Acts, number of establishments and number of workers have increased manifold. The Working Group, therefore, suggests a complete review of the strength of the enforcement machinery. Creation of an All India Service for labour administration to provide professional experts in the field of labour administration, autonomous bodies and labour adjudications could help. This could be accompanied with well laid out institutional mechanisms for up gradation of skills, induction of greater professionalism, introduction of performance assessment parameters and well defined incentives and disincentives for officers dealing with enforcement of labour laws.

 The Working Group also felt that proper enforcement of labour laws can be done through the vigil of trade unions. Collective bargaining process should increasingly be relied upon for resolution of labour disputes. Holding LokAdalats should also be encouraged to enable faster disposal of cases. A database should be built on all aspects relating to industrial relations and the officers of the Labour Departments should have access to such database through computer connectivity. The flow of statistics from the States to the Centre should also be streamlined, made more efficient and faster.

 In addition to codification and simplification of Labour Laws it is also suggested for creating online single window system for making compliance as user friendly, simple and for bringing transparency. Employers can seek the registration, license etc. online and can also file returns etc. online.

 

Unions Call for the Ratification of Core Labour Conventions

It is unthinkable that the world’s largest democracy and the founder member of the International Labour Organisation is dillydallying on the issue of the ratification of ILO’s Core labour Conventions.  Incidentally these conventions have been defined as human right convention and under the ILO’s Declaration on the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, 1998 are mandatory for member nations to respect.   The views were expressed by representatives of Central trade union organization [CTUOs] participating a Consultation on the Freedom of Association and Right to Collective Bargaining.  The Consultation, held on June 29th was organized by the Indian Industrial Relations Association [IIRA] in association with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung [FES] in New Delhi.  Inaugurating the Consultation, the INTUC Vice President Mr. Ram Chandra Khuntia, M. P. said that under the present situation when any body can seek information under RTI, the reasons given for non-ratification of Conventions 87 and 98 does not hold ground , as such the Government of India must ratify the concerned Conventions.  By now the Government of India ought to have generated confidence in its employees, said Shri Khuntia.  Former Labour Secretary Dr. P. D. Shenoy opined that the laws are not intune with current realities as such are coming in ways of exercising democratic rights.  For inclusive development and sound industrial relations it is imperative that the workmen have right to organized as also to collectively bargain.

  The Consultation, organized in the backdrop of similar issue seminars organized by INTUC and HMS that drew time-bound road map toward securing ratification of Convention 87 and 98 by the Government of India, had two panel discussions.  Panel one looked at the two Conventions from the legal perspective.  Dr. S. C. Srivastava of the National Labour Laws Association said that nonexistent legal provisions with regards to recognition of trade union as collective bargaining agent is marginalizing unions power as a social partner.   Citing various articles of the constitution as also laws relating to registration, etc. of trade unions, Dr. Srivastava said that it is disheartening that large scale violations of labour rights are going on.  He further said that one ought to draw lesions from the ongoing industrial conflicts and work towards brining parity between the social partners.   Prof. Babu Mathew of the National Law University of Delhi while tracing the history of trade union as also of the establishment of the ILO, said that interest of the Western World are directing developments at the global level.  According to him it is more important to secure right for the workers in the informal / unorganized sector first.  Quoting Thailand President he said ‘if you want to have inclusive growth then abandon export-led growth and work towards self reliance” the mantra that was espoused by Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru. 

 The second panel discussion looked at the two conventions from non-legalistic perspectives.  Recent industrial unrests at Maruti, Air India, etc. were caused by employers’ restricting workers’ right to form union, said the AITUC Deputy General Secretary Com. H. Mahadevan.  The AITUC’s goal had been to “organize the unorganized” while the other forces are working towards “unorganising the organized”.  Ratification of the Conventions 87 & 98 is not an issue for the Government, said Mahadevan.  There is need for joint effort of all the trade unions in the country to pressurize the government towards seeking the ratification.   Shri Subbha Rao of the BMS said that there exist wide gap in information, even among trade union leaders and Members of Parliament.   Further enforcement machinery is weak and, even, corrupt.  As such mare ratification may not be enough.  BMS is for the ratification of the two Conventions as also for their effective enforcement so that democratic rights of workers become reality.  Mr. R. A. Mital of Hind Majdoor Sabha [HMS] questioned the very notion of depriving the rights to majority in the background of an excuse of government employees.   The Government decision to not to ratify the convention is depriving over 350 million workers in the unorganized sector of their democratic right, said Mr. Mital.  He called for exerting pressure on the governments for effective enforcement of labour laws.  He further called on the employer to join hands with trade union movement to secure ratification of the said conventions as the same is in their interest as well.   Coen Kompier, the  ILO’s Senior Specialist on International Labour Standards, said that the ILO is in consultation with the Government of India and there are indications that it may ratify of Convention 98.  He further informed that ILO will soon be holding a meeting on Freedom of Association.     

 Shri Subba Rao suggested that to equip the trade union leadership on the subject of the said convention an expert committee be constituted that would provide technical support to the Labour Movement.  Ms. Nishi Kapahi of the ITF said that fear is an important factor that is coming in way for effective engagement of women and youth in the trade unions.  Advocate Michael Dias said that the government needs to re-assess its stand in the light of current realities.  On the issue of NGOs involvement, Mital said that all organization of workers should be inducted in this process.     On Pravin Sinha of FES quarry with regards to global union federations (GuFs) support to bring global pressure on the Government, the ITF Regional Secretary for Asia and Pacific, Mahendra Sharma said that the same may not be possible since individual GuFs are industry focused.    Kompier said that ILO would be open to provide any technical support that the Unions may require.  While concluding,  Sinha called on participants to send any written comment on the subject so that the same could be incorporated in the final document on Consultation.  Sinha further declared that the IIRA would constitute an “Expert Group on the Cole Labour Convention” to provide necessary technical support to the Indian Trade Union Movement.    Click to add text, images, and other content

7th Asia Regional Congress of the ILERA

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Sinha is the new IIRA Secretary

May 26: Following the decision of the Association's Execiutive Committee in its meeting held on May 26th at New Delhi, Dr. Pravin Sinha has been appointed as the Secretary.  Dr. Sinha is a development economists with over three decades of work experience in India and overseas.  He has presented his views on management and workplace relationships with focus on participatory form of work culture.  A largwe number of his papers have appeared in various journals of repute.  Currently, he is Senior Advisor [Labour and Industrial Relations] at the India Office of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung - a German development foundation.  Dr. Sinha is also the Executive President of the National Labour Laws Association, new Delhi.    See full size image 

99th ILO International Labour Conference

The International Labour Organization (ILO) will hold its annual International Labour Conference in Geneva on 2-18 June. Government, worker and employer representatives from the ILO’s 183 member States will discuss a series of topics, including:

  • The elaboration of a standard on HIV/AIDS in the world of work
  • Decent work for domestic workers
  • The strategic objective of employment (follow up on the 2008 ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization)
  • The Application of ILO’s Conventions and Recommendations
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ASSOCHAMS' 2nd International Meet on 
Corporate Social Responsibility
Innovation … Resurrection ... Sustenance, July, 15, 2010, New Delhi

Enlightened companies are seeking practical solutions to contemporary problems related to globalization, sustainable development and corporate responsibility. These issues go to the heart of the CSR Summit which aims to monitor, measure and guide a company’s relationship with the community and the environment.

Corporate Social Responsibility is the intelligent management of the expectations of the community. It has to be embraced from moral prospective and with accountability and responsibility in such a way that it gets beyond mere charitable initiatives and gets embedded in profitable business models. There is need to harness the energy of the business society for innovating and creating a multiplier, so that people can live in a sustainable manner.

The present summit will provide corporate leaders an insight at all levels on developing and enhancing profitable and sustainable business enterprises and practices. Successful peers and experts in the field will speak on the current and future green and sustainable opportunities for businesses while improving their commitment towards the society.

C. S. Venkat Ratnam

 Prof. C. S. Venkata Ratnam, founder Secretary of the Association as also Director of the International Management Institute, New Delhi breath his last in the early hours of April16, 2010.  Known as IR Guru, Prof Ratnam was a well know professional in India and overseas.  He was an active person in various bodies and institutions including ILO, IIRA, etc.  He was also visitng faculty in many universities  Humble to the core, he was within reach of all those who desired his services.  Prof. Ratnam is surved by his wife and a son.  

Consultation on ILO's Decent Work Agenda

In the background of India adopting ILO's Decent Work Agenda, the Association is in concultation with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung [FES] and International Labour Organisation to organise a roundtable discussion of securing implementation of the Agenda.  The proposed dicussion, to be held in June / July in New Delhi,  will have participation of the representative of social partners. 

7th Asia Regional Congress

The 7th Asia Regional Congress of the International Industrial Relations Association willbe held on September 20 - 23, 2010 at Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel, Sanur Beach, Bali in Indonesia.  The Theme of the Congress is "Industrial Democracy, Partnership and Decent Work in Responding to Global Financial Crisis".  deaatail on the Congress are available on http://www.iiraasia2010bali.com/

India Adopts Decent Work Country Programme

The ILO's tripartite partnrs in India - Government of India, Employers' and Workers' organizations signed the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) document for India. DWCP-India, covers a 5-Year period and is aligned to India's 11th 5-Year Plan. The joint programme of action places ILO's knowledge and instruments at the service of the constituents, policy-makers and other stakeholders in order to advance India's vision of faster and inclusive growth and the DW agenda..

 

IIRA 9th European Congress

The 9th European congress of the International Industrial Relations Association (IIRA) will take place 28 June-1 July 2010 at the University of Copenhagen. The Danish research centre FAOS - which is part of the Department of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen - is hosting the congress. Deatial on the Congress is available on http://www.iiraeurope2010.com/

World of Work Report 2009: Global Jobs Crisis and Beyond

    What is the statte of labour markets worldwide amid the economic crisis? What are implications of phasing out stimulus packages and employment support meausres? What is the employment impact of measures to be considered at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen? How to make financial system work for the real economy? To what extent do trade policies include social provisions?

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16th IIRA World Congress

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The International Industrial Relations Association (IIRA) was established in 1966 in response to a growing need to develop and exchange knowledge in the field of industrial relations, at the international level, and provide the academic and the practitioner with a forum for discussion and research.

The Association has over 1,000 members worldwide including prominent industrial relations scholars and practitioners. Subjects such as globalization, new technology, gender, HIV/AIDS, employee involvement, occupational safety and health, industrial relations, labour law, human resource management, international labour standards, social dialogue, labour administration, informal economy, and many other topics are largely discussed during its congresses.

Its 16th Congress is schedule to be held on July 2-5, 2012 in Philadellphia, USA. Congress details on http://www.iira2012.com

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43rd Session of State Labour Ministers Conference begins with A Call to Ensure Harmonious Industrial Relations

The 43rd session of the State Labour Ministers’ Conference  began on September 27 here with a call to ensure harmonious industrial relations climate for the foundation of country’s economic growth and well-being of the workers. Thrust was given for the addressing the concerns of the stake holders, proper implementation of Labour Laws and provide an atmosphere where entrepreneurs should be keen to invest and workers should work with dedication. Inaugurating the session Union Labour & Employment Minister Shri Mallikarjuna Kharge said his ministry has drafted a National Employment Policy. The basic objective is to create more productive, sustainable and decent employment opportunities. We are also creating a strong labour market information system. The various schemes under the National Skill Mission are being implemented across states through various Central and State ministries.

 Following is the text of Labour Minsters speech:

 “I extend my warm greetings to the Hon’ble Ministers of various States and other delegates attending this 43rd Session of State Labour Ministers’ Conference. As you know that Labour is a concurrent subject in our Constitution, both Central and State Governments have an important role in ensuring the effective implementation of the existing statutes. It is also necessary that we bring forth progressive legislations to meet the aspirations of the working class.

 The labour legislations broadly cover the four areas namely – Industrial Relations, Wages, Working Conditions and Social Security. The primary purpose of various labour legislations is to protect the working class from exploitation. They also provide healthy working conditions and enable them to make a decent and dignified living.

 Our country is an emerging economy and the large informal sector poses a big challenge. 94% of our work force is in the informal sector where implementation of labour laws is difficult. Ensuring that the benefits of various government schemes reach this sector is also a huge task. In view of the enormity of our responsibility, both central and state governments have to join hands and work very closely. We also have to take along all the other stake-holders.

 Government of India’s Twelfth Five Year Plan has the vision of ‘Faster, Sustainable and More Inclusive Growth’. Moreover in today’s globalized world we have to be very responsive to the needs of the labour market. Every year more than 10 million persons join our workforce. We have to successfully implement all our skill training schemes to harness our demographic dividend. This would also enable us to maintain a high rate of economic growth. A country’s economy can’t progress unless we have a harmonious industrial relations climate. Entrepreneurs should be keen to invest and workers should work with dedication.

 We have made significant progress in elimination of Child Labour. However we still have to cover some distance for its complete elimination. This issue is one of the most serious problems facing our society. It also attracts unwarranted international attention. Developed economies use this subject to block our exports by giving it the form of a non-tariff barrier.

For safeguarding the interests of the workers, the concept of minimum wages and equality of wages is enshrined in our Constitution. According to Article 39 of our Constitution - “the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means to livelihood”. Article 43 states that – “the state shall endeavour to secure, by suitable legislation or economic organization or in any other way, to all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities”.

 The prime aim of Minimum Wages Act, 1948 is to safeguard the interests of the workers engaged in the unorganized sector by providing a decent wage. The Act presently covers 45 scheduled employments in the Central sphere and 1679 scheduled employments in the State sphere. We are constantly trying for bringing down regional disparities in minimum wages. Our endeavour is to ensure better enforcement of various provisions of the Minimum Wages Act.

 The proposed National Floor Level Minimum Wage is expected to reduce inter-state and inter-employment disparity. It is being indexed from time to time on the basis of the consumer price index. Presently it is fixed at Rs. 115/- with effect from 1st April, 2011. The centre has also introduced Variable Dearness Allowance (VDA) since 1989 to neutralize the effect of inflation on wages. So far 24 states/UTs have adopted the VDA concept. We are pursuing the matter with the remaining states.

 A sound industrial climate lays down the foundation of country’s economic growth and well-being of the workers. One of the primary functions of Ministry of Labour & Employment is to maintain industrial harmony. The conciliation and enforcement machinery plays an important role in achieving this aim. State Governments are the implementing agencies for many of the labour laws. Our ministry is responsive to the concerns of our stakeholders. We believe in taking proactive measures in consultation with State Governments and social partners.

 I have been regularly communicating with State Governments to stress upon the need of effective implementation of labour laws. Legislation related to minimum wages, contract labour, industrial disputes and ‘working conditions in the factories’ affects the life of the working class in a very significant way. These laws touch upon the lives of the most deprived and marginal classes of the society.

 Enforcement of the Labour Laws has to be followed strictly. Failure in this area has led to the recent flaring of incidents like Maruti Suzuki in Haryana, Regency Ceramics, Yanam, Puducherry and Neyveli Lignite Limited, Tamil Nadu. Respect for industrial democracy and aiming towards high industrial growth has to go hand in hand. Our trade union movement has a proud legacy and entrepreneurs of our country are respected the world over. The need is to ensure a healthy social dialogue so that all the creative energy is channelized for the progress of our nation. Employers should not turn a blind eye towards the labour statutes. At the same time the workers should refrain from taking law into their own hands. Our employers and workers should conduct themselves in such a way that they earn the respect of the whole world.

 In the coming years, our country’s growth will to a large extent depend on the success of our skill training programmes. A significant portion of the world’s total youth population lives in India. The challenge of equipping millions of our youth, who are entering the labour market every year with professional skills, is a huge task. Government of India has launched the National Skill Development Policy. Skill development is a major national priority especially for the youth. A Coordinated Action Plan for skill development has been framed. Our ministry has been given a target of skilling 10 crore persons in the next ten years. This can be possible only with your fullest co-operation.

 Ministry of Labour and Employment has drafted a National Employment Policy. The basic objective is to create more productive, sustainable and decent employment opportunities. We are also creating a strong labour market information system. The various schemes under the National Skill Mission are being implemented across states through various Central and State ministries. Government of India has taken a number of steps for ensuring quality employment through appropriate skill development. However, in the skill front there are various challenges that need to be tackled in the new economic scenario as our skill-base is still low compared to the developed countries.

 Government has promised Rs. 700/- crore under MES but two states and two Union Territories have not even sent their annual action plan. Similarly, under the World Bank project for modernization of ITIs, Rs. 1103 crore has been released but only Rs. 902 crore has been utilized. Project is closing in December, 2012 but 14 states are lagging behind. There are about 7 lakh ITI certificates pending for issue as a result of which candidates are finding it difficult to get jobs.

 I would like to appeal to all the Labour and Employment Ministers to look into these issues, utilize amount in time and send the details of candidates so that certificates could be issued. I will also request State Governments to send information about pass out candidates to up-date our records.

 Government of India has adopted a multi-pronged strategy for eradication of child labour. Child Labour is basically a socio-economic problem. Right to Education Act, 2009 and its alignment with the National Child Labour Project will significantly reduce the problem of child labour. It will also provide basic amenities like education, nutrition, health and security to our children.

 The continuation of National Child Labour Project Scheme during 12th plan with certain modifications proves its effectiveness. We invite your suggestions to make the NCLP Scheme more effective. The Union Cabinet has also approved the proposal of Ministry of Labour & Employment for amending the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986. These amendments are in line with the provisions of ILO Conventions No. 182 concerning Worst Forms of Labour and No. 138 concerning Minimum Age.

 Before I conclude I would like to remind all, that we are committed to create a healthy work environment. Industrial climate should be conducive to achieving a high rate of economic growth. It should also give the highest regard to protecting the interests of the working class. Our country’s economic progress and social peace will depend on our responsiveness to the needs and rightful aspirations of the working class.

 The challenge remains huge. Achieving it will require single minded dedication along with a lot of hard work. Hon’ble Ministers present in this Conference and all the delegates have wide experience in the area of labour. I am quite optimistic that if we pool together our strengths, we will be able to bring our country in the forefront of the community of nations.”  

43rd Session of State Labour Ministers Conference begins with A Call to Ensure Harmonious Industrial Relations

The 43rd session of the State Labour Ministers’ Conference September 27 began here with a call to ensure harmonious industrial relations climate for the foundation of country’s economic growth and well-being of the workers. Thrust was given for the addressing the concerns of the stake holders, proper implementation of Labour Laws and provide an atmosphere where entrepreneurs should be keen to invest and workers should work with dedication. Inaugurating the session Union Labour & Employment Minister Shri Mallikarjuna Kharge said his ministry has drafted a National Employment Policy. The basic objective is to create more productive, sustainable and decent employment opportunities. We are also creating a strong labour market information system. The various schemes under the National Skill Mission are being implemented across states through various Central and State ministries.

 Following is the text of Labour Minsters speech:

 “I extend my warm greetings to the Hon’ble Ministers of various States and other delegates attending this 43rd Session of State Labour Ministers’ Conference. As you know that Labour is a concurrent subject in our Constitution, both Central and State Governments have an important role in ensuring the effective implementation of the existing statutes. It is also necessary that we bring forth progressive legislations to meet the aspirations of the working class.

 The labour legislations broadly cover the four areas namely – Industrial Relations, Wages, Working Conditions and Social Security. The primary purpose of various labour legislations is to protect the working class from exploitation. They also provide healthy working conditions and enable them to make a decent and dignified living.

 Our country is an emerging economy and the large informal sector poses a big challenge. 94% of our work force is in the informal sector where implementation of labour laws is difficult. Ensuring that the benefits of various government schemes reach this sector is also a huge task. In view of the enormity of our responsibility, both central and state governments have to join hands and work very closely. We also have to take along all the other stake-holders.

 Government of India’s Twelfth Five Year Plan has the vision of ‘Faster, Sustainable and More Inclusive Growth’. Moreover in today’s globalized world we have to be very responsive to the needs of the labour market. Every year more than 10 million persons join our workforce. We have to successfully implement all our skill training schemes to harness our demographic dividend. This would also enable us to maintain a high rate of economic growth. A country’s economy can’t progress unless we have a harmonious industrial relations climate. Entrepreneurs should be keen to invest and workers should work with dedication.

 We have made significant progress in elimination of Child Labour. However we still have to cover some distance for its complete elimination. This issue is one of the most serious problems facing our society. It also attracts unwarranted international attention. Developed economies use this subject to block our exports by giving it the form of a non-tariff barrier.

 For safeguarding the interests of the workers, the concept of minimum wages and equality of wages is enshrined in our Constitution. According to Article 39 of our Constitution - “the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means to livelihood”. Article 43 states that – “the state shall endeavour to secure, by suitable legislation or economic organization or in any other way, to all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities”.

 The prime aim of Minimum Wages Act, 1948 is to safeguard the interests of the workers engaged in the unorganized sector by providing a decent wage. The Act presently covers 45 scheduled employments in the Central sphere and 1679 scheduled employments in the State sphere. We are constantly trying for bringing down regional disparities in minimum wages. Our endeavour is to ensure better enforcement of various provisions of the Minimum Wages Act.

 The proposed National Floor Level Minimum Wage is expected to reduce inter-state and inter-employment disparity. It is being indexed from time to time on the basis of the consumer price index. Presently it is fixed at Rs. 115/- with effect from 1st April, 2011. The centre has also introduced Variable Dearness Allowance (VDA) since 1989 to neutralize the effect of inflation on wages. So far 24 states/UTs have adopted the VDA concept. We are pursuing the matter with the remaining states.

 A sound industrial climate lays down the foundation of country’s economic growth and well-being of the workers. One of the primary functions of Ministry of Labour & Employment is to maintain industrial harmony. The conciliation and enforcement machinery plays an important role in achieving this aim. State Governments are the implementing agencies for many of the labour laws. Our ministry is responsive to the concerns of our stakeholders. We believe in taking proactive measures in consultation with State Governments and social partners.

 

I have been regularly communicating with State Governments to stress upon the need of effective implementation of labour laws. Legislation related to minimum wages, contract labour, industrial disputes and ‘working conditions in the factories’ affects the life of the working class in a very significant way. These laws touch upon the lives of the most deprived and marginal classes of the society.

 

Enforcement of the Labour Laws has to be followed strictly. Failure in this area has led to the recent flaring of incidents like Maruti Suzuki in Haryana, Regency Ceramics, Yanam, Puducherry and Neyveli Lignite Limited, Tamil Nadu. Respect for industrial democracy and aiming towards high industrial growth has to go hand in hand. Our trade union movement has a proud legacy and entrepreneurs of our country are respected the world over. The need is to ensure a healthy social dialogue so that all the creative energy is channelized for the progress of our nation. Employers should not turn a blind eye towards the labour statutes. At the same time the workers should refrain from taking law into their own hands. Our employers and workers should conduct themselves in such a way that they earn the respect of the whole world.

 In the coming years, our country’s growth will to a large extent depend on the success of our skill training programmes. A significant portion of the world’s total youth population lives in India. The challenge of equipping millions of our youth, who are entering the labour market every year with professional skills, is a huge task. Government of India has launched the National Skill Development Policy. Skill development is a major national priority especially for the youth. A Coordinated Action Plan for skill development has been framed. Our ministry has been given a target of skilling 10 crore persons in the next ten years. This can be possible only with your fullest co-operation.

 Ministry of Labour and Employment has drafted a National Employment Policy. The basic objective is to create more productive, sustainable and decent employment opportunities. We are also creating a strong labour market information system. The various schemes under the National Skill Mission are being implemented across states through various Central and State ministries. Government of India has taken a number of steps for ensuring quality employment through appropriate skill development. However, in the skill front there are various challenges that need to be tackled in the new economic scenario as our skill-base is still low compared to the developed countries.

 Government has promised Rs. 700/- crore under MES but two states and two Union Territories have not even sent their annual action plan. Similarly, under the World Bank project for modernization of ITIs, Rs. 1103 crore has been released but only Rs. 902 crore has been utilized. Project is closing in December, 2012 but 14 states are lagging behind. There are about 7 lakh ITI certificates pending for issue as a result of which candidates are finding it difficult to get jobs.

 I would like to appeal to all the Labour and Employment Ministers to look into these issues, utilize amount in time and send the details of candidates so that certificates could be issued. I will also request State Governments to send information about pass out candidates to up-date our records.

 Government of India has adopted a multi-pronged strategy for eradication of child labour. Child Labour is basically a socio-economic problem. Right to Education Act, 2009 and its alignment with the National Child Labour Project will significantly reduce the problem of child labour. It will also provide basic amenities like education, nutrition, health and security to our children.

 The continuation of National Child Labour Project Scheme during 12th plan with certain modifications proves its effectiveness. We invite your suggestions to make the NCLP Scheme more effective. The Union Cabinet has also approved the proposal of Ministry of Labour & Employment for amending the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986. These amendments are in line with the provisions of ILO Conventions No. 182 concerning Worst Forms of Labour and No. 138 concerning Minimum Age.

 Before I conclude I would like to remind all, that we are committed to create a healthy work environment. Industrial climate should be conducive to achieving a high rate of economic growth. It should also give the highest regard to protecting the interests of the working class. Our country’s economic progress and social peace will depend on our responsiveness to the needs and rightful aspirations of the working class.

 The challenge remains huge. Achieving it will require single minded dedication along with a lot of hard work. Hon’ble Ministers present in this Conference and all the delegates have wide experience in the area of labour. I am quite optimistic that if we pool together our strengths, we will be able to bring our country in the forefront of the community of nations.”  

Reforms not a one-off process, we will do what is good: PM

 

Signalling that he was not going to retrace his steps on the recent economic decisions despite the unease among UPA partners, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said his government would continue with the reforms process and discuss them with allies.  “We will do what is good for the country... reforms are not a one-off process,” Singh told reporters on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony of new Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir at Rashtrapati Bhawan.  

Responding to questions on demands for rollback of decisions on FDI in multi-brand retail, diesel hike and the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders — on the last two, even the DMK has voiced reservations — the Prime Minister indicated that he did not foresee any problems with UPA allies.

“We are far away from elections,” he said when he was asked if the decisions could trigger an early election. He said he was not upset by the decision of the Trinamool Congress to walk out of the ruling coalition. “I am not bitter about anything,” he said.FP

The UPA coordination committee had met earlier this week where the recent decisions of the government, including the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail and fuel hike, were discussed by allies.

Singh also sought to dismiss the accusation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi that FDI was aimed at pleasing the US when he said: “What has the US got to do with this? We are not a country to be dictated by others.” On the Supreme Court’s opinion on the issue of auction of natural resources, he said: “We honour the judgement.”

Hours after he made it clear that he was going to stick to the reforms path, the Prime Minister came under attack from the BJP which maintained he had “acted under foreign pressure” and was now making a “pathetic attempt” to deny it.

“It is a pathetic attempt by the Prime Minister to deny something which is so obvious and glaring.... It is a sad day for the country that the Prime Minister of India has to deny that he is not working under foreign pressure and he does not sound convincing,” BJP MP Balbir Punj said.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said the Prime Minister had failed to explain the “change in his stand”.

“In 2002 and 2004, he himself had stood up against FDI in retail, what brought about the change in his stance? As late as last year, the government assured Parliament that consultations will be held with political parties and all stakeholders on this issue, so what brought about this change without even building a consensus? The Prime Minister took a U-turn despite his alliance partners, TMC and SP, being against the move. It happened after Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, met the Chief Minister opposed to the FDI to convince her. It is these things that the Prime Minister has to explain,” she said.

 

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Announcements

Consultation on Draft Indian Labour Code on Social Security

[April 12, 2017 Delhi]

A Concultation on the proposed Labour Codes on Social Security  is planned to be held in association with the All India Organisation of Employers (AIOE) on March 12th at the FICCI House in New Delhi.  The consultation is being held to discuss the draft Code that is prepared and circulated by the union Ministry of Labour and Employment. 

Members are requested to communicate their interest to participate in the said consultation to the Secretary [Email: iira.india@gmail.com] at the earliest.


Consultation on Employment Relations in GVC

April 19-20, 2017 Pune, Maharashtra

Those interested in participating may send a request to the Secretary at email: iira.india@gmail.com


IIRA Executive Committee Meeting

The IIRA Executive Committee meeting would be held some time in June-July  2017.  The current members of the EC are invited to suggest isssues that could be included in the agenda of the proposed meeting.  The exect date and venue would be communicated soon. 

Secretary, IIRA

Appeal

URGENT

It is observed that documents and mail sent to many of the IIRA Members are returned as undelevered.

Exiting Annual Members are requested to pay their membership dues at the earliest.

Please update your mailing address details by sending information to the Assocation's Secretariate by post or Email: iira.india@gmail.com

ILERA


The International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA) earlier known as the International Industrial Relations Association (IIRA) was established in 1966 in response to a growing need to develop and exchange knowledge in the field of industrial relations, at the international level, and provide the academic and the practitioner with a forum for discussion and research.  [  www.ilo.org/public/english/iira/  ]  

NEWS LETTER 


18th ILERA World Congress [July 23-27, 2018], Seoul, Korea

Theme: Employment for a Sustainable Society: What Is to Be Done?

The details, including Call for Papers, on the Congress could be had from  http://www.ilera2018.org/

The last date for the submission of proposal is August 31, 2017

Government of India

http://goidirectory.nic.in/