Ministers discuss labour code on wages

The meeting was attended by labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya and power minister Piyush Goyal, while oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh did not attend the meeting.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published:March 9, 2017 2:26 am

The inter-ministerial group on labour, headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley, in its meeting on Wednesday broadly agreed on the proposed labour code on wages. However, no final decision was taken and the panel will meet again to finalise the code along with the proposed code on industrial relations, which was partly discussed in the meeting, officials said.

The meeting was attended by labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya and power minister Piyush Goyal, while oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh did not attend the meeting.

After the meeting, Dattatreya said that the panel discussed the entire wage code while a part of industrial relations code was also discussed, adding that there could be another meeting on the two Bills later this month. Earlier, the minister had indicated that the two Bills would come up for passage during the second phase of the Budget session of the Parliament, which begins Thursday.

The labour ministry has planned to concise about 44 labour laws into four codes — industrial relations, social security and safety, health and working conditions. In his 2017-18 Budget speech, Jaitley had said that the government proposes to rationalise the existing labour laws into four codes. Trade unions have been opposing certain amendments brought in these codes and have already submitted their dissent note on those.

Among other things, the New Industrial Relations Code, proposes to raise ceiling for number of workers from
100 to 300 for units which can go for closure, retrenchment or lay off without government approval. At present, all units with up to 100 workers are not required to seek government nod for closure, retrenchment or lay off.

The government has completed tripartite discussions on the these two codes to seek stakeholders’ including industry, unions and states, view on the two draft legislations. The proposed code on wages would subsume Minimum Wages Act of 1948, the Payment of Wages Act of 1936, the Payment of Bonus Act of 1965 and the Equal Remuneration Act of 1976.

Similarly, Code on Industrial Relations would subsume Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.

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