On 4th of February, 2022, a Private Member Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha to repeal the four new Labour Codes. In case of private member bill to become an Act, it shall be passed from both the houses and then it shall be sent for presidential assent.
The chances of a Private Bill coming up as the law are minuscule and rare as only 14 Private Member Bills have become law so far, the last one was the Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Bill, 1968 which was passed in 1970.
Private Bill put forth for repealing the four Labour Codes (Code on Wages, Industrial Relations Code, Code on Social Security and the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code) is known as the Labour Codes (Repeal) Bill and it asserts that the new Codes have only diluted and loosen up the provisions given by the previous Labour Acts, instead of protecting them.
The Private Bill says in its Statement of Objects and Reasons, that in addition to omitting the shield of collective bargaining which was making it more difficult for the workers to understand and claim their rights.
The Labour Codes are intrinsically biased towards employers and corporates, fortifying them to violate the rights of the labours and workers.
As per the Private Bill, the Code on Wages which was brought in to repeal the (Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Minimum Wages Act, 1948, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and Equal Remuneration Act, 1976) have encompassed within self, the reasonably selective provisions of the previously mentioned Acts, that not only are predisposed and prioritise the employer’s interests, they also take away the protection that was accorded and allotted to workers under the past formed legislation.
Furthermore, according to the Private Bill, although the Code on Wages had made tall claims of enforcing and increasing minimum wages, it has still not included any tools and methodology for the same though a concrete formula on Minimum wages has been decided unanimously by the 15th Indian Labour Conference, revisited by the apex court’s judgment in Raptakkos Brett Case and further stated by the 44th, 45th and 46th Indian Labour Conference.
Elaboration of the problematic part of the Industrial Relations Code, 2020 (which repealed the Industrial Disputes Act, 1957, Trade Unions Act, 1926 and Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946) the Bill depicts that it provides power in the hands of the employers and hirers.
On the Code on Social Security, which had repealed 8 Labour laws, the Private Bill remarks that it had sought to repeal efficient and effective, operative legislations on social security and had diluted their provisions to the disadvantage of workers, in addition to bolstering the executive to modify significant sections of that group without any parliamentary sanction.
Further pointing out that the mechanism in respect to the regular inspection of workplaces to examine working and health conditions, safety and security matters which is the lifeline of formulation of all enactments had not only been thoroughly mishandled and tampered with but had also been made ineffectual, the Labour Codes (Repeal) Bill asks for repealing the toothless Labour Code.
Kareem said that widespread protests against these codes were going on in India. Labour codes, which omits all possibility of collective bargaining by workers, are formulated solely to protect the interests of employers and corporates.
The duty of the government should be to strengthen the existing labour laws and make them more pro-labour. The aim of his Bill is to strengthen the nationwide agitation against the labour codes said by him.
Advantage to employers
Kareem said that Minimum wages could be an effective tool for addressing poverty and inequality. India has a number of issues and concerns with regard to the setting and implication of minimum wages.
Published By – Vanshu Mehra
Edited By – Subbuthai Padma