Unions Protest Govt's 'Unilateral' Labour Reforms

New Delhi
Unions Protest Govt's 'Unilateral' Labour Reforms

Trade unions today strongly protested against some proposed amendments to labour laws saying that these "unilateral" reforms by the Narendra Modi government are anti-worker.

Union leaders were of the view that it is quite possible the all central trade unions may decide to go on strike at national convention to be held on May 26.

Twelve unions are attending a meeting today called by the government to discuss their 10-point agenda and issues relating certain proposed amendments to labour laws, which were opposed by them earlier.

"These labour reforms are unilateral and anti-worker. We are most likely to decide the date for nationwide strike at national convention of central trade union on May 26," All India Trade Union Congress Secretary D L Sachdev, who is attending the meeting, said.

Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya is discussing issues flagged by unions with them. Power Minister Piyush Goyal, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan joined Dattatreya later.

"This government is not giving any heed to labour issues. Two of the ministers came late. They are not dealing with labour issues," Centre of Indian Trade Unions President A K Padmanabhan said, who is also attending the meeting.

Hind Mazdoor Sabha Secretary A D Nagpal, another leader present in the meeting, said: "The central trade unions are likely to decided the date of strike on May 26. We have been opposing these so called labour reforms."

The central trade unions' 10-point agenda includes demands like government steps to deal with issues like price rise and unemployment.

Providing universal social security cover for workers and stopping disinvestment of PSUs are also part of demands.

The central trade unions have added two more demands to their 10 points agenda--scrapping the decision to allow foreign investment in railways and defence and "unilateral" changes in labour laws.

Unions have been opposing certain proposed labour law amendments which encourage hire and fire, makes it tougher to make labour unions and diluting existing social security net available to the workers at different fora.

Under the proposed Industrial Relations Code Bill 2015, the employers with up to 300 workers would not require government permission for retrenchment, lay off and closure.

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