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Industry body FICCI submits?charter for Labour Policy reforms to govt
Apex industry body FICCI has submitted a charter for Labour Policy reforms to Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Labour, Employment, Mining and Steels, stating that the antiquated labour laws has blocked employment generation and competitiveness of enterprises, which is the prime need of the country.

The paper states that against 8 per cent growth between 2000 to 2009, the employment grew only at an average of 1.6 per cent.

At the outset, FICCI paper suggests the need for shifting labour from 'concurrent list' of the constitution to 'state list' to allow state governments greater freedom in formulating labour policies to attract higher investments.

There is a need for minimising and simplification of labour laws for better compliance, the paper stated. FICCI has outlined the need for regrouping the entire set of close to 150 labour laws into four categories:

I. Laws governing terms and conditions of employment, which may consolidate:

(a) Industrial Disputes Act, 1947

(b) Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946

(c) Trade Unions Act. 1926

II. Laws governing wages, which may consolidate:

(a) Minimum Wages Act, 1948

(b) Payment of Wages Act, 1936

(c) Payment of Bonus Act, 1965

III. Laws governing welfare which may consolidate:

(a) Factories Act, 1948

(b) Shops and Establishments Act

(c) Maternity Benefits Act, 1961

(d) Employees' Compensation Act, 1952 and

(e) Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970

IV. Laws governing social security, which may consolidate:

(a) Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952

(b) Employees State Insurance Act, 1948

(c) Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972

The paper states that a uniform definition of 'employee', 'industry' and 'wages' across all labour legislations would minimise litigation.

The coverage of the Industrial Dispute Act, should be confined to employees receiving salary only upto Rs. 20,000/- the paper stated. This is necessary in view of the need to exclude employees in the higher salary bracket enjoying statutory protection which is very often misused to the detrimental of the society.

A small change in the service condition even brought about by change of shifts, installing new machine or recognition of schedule to better utilise resources, require 21 days' notice to the union as per Section 9A. FICCI has, supported the recommendation of the 2nd Labour Commissioner in this respect and called for deleting Item No. 10 and 11 in the fourth schedule of the ID Act, 1947 providing for notice for effecting rationalisation and standardisation.

FICCI note submitted to the Government has called for adopting a uniform practice of serving 14 days compulsory notice in the case of both 'strike' and 'lockout'. This provision right now exists only with regard to units engaged in 'public utility services'.

Following the practice of the developed countries like UK, Germany, Australia etc. FICCI has called for adopting the practice of 'Strike Ballot' by the Trade Unions.

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