Besides, the government has expressed its intent to provide universal social security while providing for study on inter-state migrant workers as part of the changes in the labour codes introduced in Parliament on Saturday.
Labour and employment minister Santosh Gangwar introduced the Code on Industrial Relations, the Social Security Code and the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Condition in the Lok Sabha, paving way for labour reforms in the country, amidst opposition from the Congress.
“We have included 174 out of 233 or 74% of the recommendations of the standing committee on labour across three codes being introduced again as they have undergone substantial changes,” labour and employment minister Santosh Gangwar said in Lok Sabha while introducing the three bills in the lower house on Saturday.
According to minister Gangwar, even the preamble of the Social Security Code has undergone changes. Before introducing the new bills with substantive changes, the minister had withdrawn the three codes tabled in the Parliament in 2019.
“The government had held nine rounds of tripartite consultations while drafting the three codes,” minister Gangwar added.
As per the new Industrial Relations Code Bill, the provisions of this Chapter shall apply to an industrial establishment in which not less than three hundred workers, or such higher number of workers as may be notified by the appropriate Government, were employed on an average per working day in the preceding twelve months.
The codes will give powers to state governments on rules related to hiring, retrenchment and fixing work hours in their factories and establishments while restricting powers of the workers to form unions. Besides, it will ensure the government extends social security to all, including the unorganised and gig workers in a phased manner.
The union labour ministry has consolidated and amalgamated 29 labour laws into four codes to significantly improve the ease of compliance and hiring and firing of workers while keeping the labour welfare under consideration. The government had earlier notified the Code on Wages which provides for national level floor wage for all workers. The Code, is however, yet to be implemented.
Congress MP Manish Tewari objected to the introduction of the three labour codes saying the labour ministry should have again consulted all stakeholders before introducing the new bills as they have undergone “substantial transformation”.
Even Shashi Tharoor raised objections to the introduction of new bills saying mandatory two days of time should have been given to the House to study the Bills.
Labour minister Gangwar, however, assured that the government will take into consideration points raised during the discussion of the three bills in the House.
The code on occupational safety, health and working conditions (OSH&WC Code) and the industrial relations code (IR Code) will give autonomy to states to amend labour laws to suit their industrial needs and attract investments through labour reforms without seeking Centre’s permission.