CB – Training on labour rights

Capacity building training on labour rights – Union Office, Sanarpatty

The training was conducted by Tho. Jeyamani AITUC welcomed by the program manager. The staffs and the interested CRC facilitators were present to this one day training. Indian labour law refers to laws regulating labour in India. Traditionally, Indian governments at federal and state level have sought to ensure a high degree of protection for workers, but in practice, legislative rights only cover a minority of workers. India is a federal form of government and because labour is a subject in the concurrent list of the Indian Constitution, labour matters are in the jurisdiction of both central and state governments; both central and state governments have enacted laws on labour relations and employment issues.

History of Labour Laws

Indian labour law is closely connected to the Indian independence movement, and the campaigns of passive resistance leading up to independence. While India was under colonial rule by the British Raj, labour rights, trade unions, and freedom of association were all suppressed. Workers who sought better conditions, and trade unions campaigned through strike action were frequently and violently suppressed. After independence was won in 1947, the Constitution of India of 1950 embedded a series of fundamental labour rights in the constitution, particularly the right to join and take action in a trade union, the principle of equality at work, and the aspiration of creating a living wage with decent working conditions.

  • 1921 Buckingham and Carnatic Mills Strike
  • 1926 Binny Mills Strike
  • 1928 South Indian Railway Strike
  • Meerut Conspiracy Case (1929)
  • 1974 railway strike in India
  • Great Bombay Textile Strike in 1982
  • Harthal in Kerala 2012

Wage regulation

Minimum Wages Act 1948 and Minimum wage

The Payment of Wages Act 1936 requires that employees receive wages, on time, and without any unauthorized deductions. Section 6 requires that people are paid in money rather than in kind. The law also provides the tax withholdings the employer must deduct and pay to the central or state government before distributing the wages.

The Minimum Wages Act 1948 sets wages for the different economic sectors that it states it will cover. It leaves a large number of workers unregulated. Central and state governments have discretion to set wages according to kind of work and location, and they range between as much as ₹ 143 to 1120 per day for work in the so-called central sphere. State governments have their own minimum wage schedules.

The Payment of Gratuity Act 1972 applies to establishments with 10 or more workers. Gratuity is payable to the employee if he or she resigns or retires. The Indian government mandates that this payment be at the rate of 15 days salary of the employee for each completed year of service subject to a maximum of ₹ 1000000.

The Payment of Bonus Act 1965, which applies only to enterprises with over 20 people, requires bonuses are paid out of profits based on productivity. The minimum bonus is currently 8.33 per cent of salary.

Collective action

The Industrial Disputes Act 1947 regulates how employers may address industrial disputes such as lockouts, layoffs, retrenchment etc. It controls the lawful processes for reconciliation, adjudication of labour disputes.

According to fundamental rules (FR 17A) of the civil service of India, a period of unauthorized absence- (i) in the case of employees working in industrial establishments, during a strike which has been declared illegal under the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, or any other law for the time being in force; (ii) in the case of other employees as a result of action in combination or in concerted manner, such as during a strike, without any authority from, or valid reason to the satisfaction of the competent authority; shall be deemed to cause an interruption or break in the service of the employee, unless otherwise decided by the competent authority for the purpose of leave travel concession, quasi-permanency and eligibility for appearing in departmental examinations, for which a minimum period of continuous service is required.

the industrial Disputes Act, 1947 is to investigate and thereafter come to a settlement of any industrial disputes, primarily between employers and employees. A workman having no supervisory or administrative capacity can raise an industrial dispute before the competent authority. Furthermore, collective disputes can also be raised by the union.

Procedure of Raising an Industrial Dispute

First, the aggrieved workman has to raise the industrial dispute before his employer. If the employer does not give any reply or gives an unsatisfactory reply, then the workman can file a complaint before the Labour Commissioner for conciliation. If the Labour Commissioner fails to solve the dispute, then the workman can file a complaint before the Labour Court/ Industrial Tribunal for further adjudication.

Time Limit for Raising the Dispute

A workman must file the complaint before the Labour Court/ Industrial Tribunal within three years from the date of his alleged termination by his employer.

Power of Labour Court

The Industrial Tribunals/ Labour Courts have the power to modify the punishment awarded to a workman and to give appropriate relief to the workman including reinstatement and back wages.

Interim Relief to the Workman

A workman can ask for interim relief (last drawn wages) when the award of reinstatement passed by the Labour Court/ Industrial Tribunal is challenged by his employer in the High Court.

Unfair Labour Practice

Unfair labour practice as defined Under Section 25-T of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 is illegal and both employer and union practicing it are liable to be punished.

Closure – Closure notice has to be given 60 days in advance in general. In case the employer has more than 100 employees then a notice has to be given 90 days in advance to the office of the Labour Commissioner.

This category of posts includes complete text of Employees Provident Fund Act (PF Act), Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Rules, and other really important PF (Provident Fund) Forms such PF withdrawal forms, PF Pension Form. The EPF & MP Act, 1952 is created for the purpose of social welfare of an employee. Any factory or establishment engaging 20 or more employees, whether directly or through contractors is liable to be covered under this Act.

Basic Wages

The contribution is calculated on the basic wages and dearness allowance but does not include food allowance, house rent allowance (HRA), overtime allowance, bonus, commission etc.

Wage Limit

The wage limit to be covered under this Act is Rs.15,000/- per month.

Quantum of Contribution

 The contribution of the employer shall be calculated at 10% of the wages in general and 12% in certain classes of establishment as prescribed by the Central Government. An employee shall pay the equal share of contribution as paid by his employer.

Penalty for Default of Payment by the Employer

An employer is liable to pay damages on being a defaulter. However, this can extend up to imprisonment of 3 years and a fine of Rs.10,000/-

Voluntary Contribution 

An establishment having less than 20 employees can also cover itself voluntarily under the EPF & MP Act, 1952 unlike the ESI Act, 1948 which does not allow voluntary coverage.

Conclusion

He did speak on the trade union act only which could help the labour to claim his or her rights and dues. He also shared on his experience as a labour and as a leader of the trade union. As the labour is afraid of the industry owners most of the times the labour claims results in failure also are the same cause. The labour should always try to have a membership in any trade union because the union can ask on behalf of the labour through 2 (K) petition. At the legal proceeding of the case a labour need not struggle of appearing for the hearings rather on behalf of the labour the union will represent. The participants thanked Tho.Jeyamani for explaining the important labour laws in the language of the labours due to which the staffs were able to grasp the details.