Ahead of a crucial meeting of the Indian Labour Conference on July 20 that would discuss the government’s proposed amendments to labour laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called a meeting of all Central trade unions on July 19.
“The Prime Minister has invited all trade unions over tea on Sunday evening,” said Virjesh Upadhyay, general secretary Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh. “We have been invited for tea by the PM but the agenda is not known,” said Tapan Sen, MP (CPI-M) and general secretary, CITU.
However, sources indicated that the Prime Minister is keen to meet the trade union leaders personally before the 47th ILC. The Prime Minister would also inaugurate the two-day conference.
Before the meeting with the Prime Minister, central trade unions are also set to meet an inter-ministerial panel led by finance minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday afternoon to discuss their 10-point charter of demands. Apart from the finance minister, the panel includes petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya, coal and power minister Piyush Goyal and minister of state (MoS) in PMO Jitendra Singh.
“Not much can be discussed in the meeting with the ministerial panel as the meeting with the Prime Minister will take place shortly after that,” said Sen. The ILC, which would be the first under the current government, would be attended by government ministers and officials, trade union leaders and employer representatives and is expected to be an explosive discussion with the agenda including issues such the contentious issue of amendments to labour laws.
Trade unions have already expressed displeasure that the government has not taken their views on board while finalising the amendments. Terming the amendments as “anti-worker”, all 11 central trade unions have also called a nation-wide strike on September 2. Keen to attract investments, the NDA government has been working on a slew of reforms to modernise the country’s Independence era labour laws over the past one year. While it has amended the Apprentices Act, 1961 and the Labour
Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers by Certain Establishments) Act, amendments to the Factories Act, 1948 are pending with Parliament.