Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar has assured central trade unions that his ministry will work in cooperation with them to protect interests of workers. The minister had called the meeting of all central trade unions to discuss some of the provisions of the draft Industrial Relations Code yesterday. "The labour minister assured the participants that the ministry will work together with the trade unions for the protection of interest of the workers," a labour ministry statement said. The meeting was attended by the representatives from 10 Central Trade Unions -- Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC), Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) and NFITU (Dhanbad). This was the first interaction meeting of Gangwar with the Trade Union representatives, after taking over the charge of the Labour Ministry. The representatives from trade unions appreciated the efforts of Gangwar for the working class in his earlier days in the textiles ministry, the statement said. However, the unions unanimously opposed the certain provision of the code which according to them would encourage hire and fire policies. The new industrial relations code proposes to raise the ceiling on number of workers for units that can go for closure, retrenchment or layoff without government approval to 300 from 100. At present, all units with up to 100 workers are not required to seek government nod for closure, retrenchment or layoff.
The government has completed tripartite discussions on these two codes to seek view of stakeholders, including the industry, unions and states. The code on industrial relations will subsume Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946. The labour ministry has plans to condense nearly 44 labour laws into four codes-wages, industrial relations, social security and safety, health and working conditions.
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