Industrial Code: Govt drops plan to bar ‘outsiders from trade unions : 02-12-2019

Under pressure from trade unions (TUs), the government has dropped a 2015 proposal to bar outsiders from becoming trade union office-bearers in organised sector establishments. In the final draft on the Code of Industrial Relations tabled in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, the government has also removed another proposal of the 2015 draft to restrict the number of outsider office-bearers in the unorganised sector TUs to two.

In the draft Code released in 2015, the government had proposed to disallow outsiders or persons not connected with the industry, to be trade union office-bearers in the organised sector. As for unorganised sector units, where 94% of the Indian workforce is employed but trade union activity is relatively less robust, it was proposed that the outsiders can continue to be office-bearers subject to a cap of two persons per registered union.

The Bill tabled in Parliament on Thursday retains the current provision that at least two-thirds of leaders of TUs in the organised sector must be from the establishments concerned and that not more than five such leaders should be from outside. Similarly, the current provision with regard to unorganised sector units that not more than half of the TU office-bearers should be from outside has also been unchanged.

The trade unions were vociferous in their protest against the proposal to bar outsiders from being TU leaders.

Also in line with the current rule, the final draft has barred ministers or a person holding an office of profit, both at the Centre and state level, to be a member of the executive or other office-bearer of a trade union.

Immediately after assuming office, the current dispensation embarked on long-pending labour reforms by proposing to amalgamate 44 existing labour Acts into four codes on IR, wages, operational safety, health (OSH) and working condition; and welfare and working conditions · with the aim of simplifying them and ensuring a conducive and harmonious environment for doing business.

The Code on wages has already been passed in both the Houses of Parliament; the OSH Code was introduced in the Lok Sabha, which decided to send it to the select committee.

IR Code will amalgamate the Trade Unions Act, 1926, the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

Source : Financial Express