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Before labour meet, PM meets union leaders to discuss their views

The Prime Minister’s meeting followed extensive consultations that the trade union leaders held with an inter-ministerial panel headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: July 20, 2015 2:32:06 am

Ahead of the Indian Labour Conference on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Central trade unions on Sunday evening to understand their views and is understood to have assured them that the tripartite mechanism of discussion on labour policies would be continued.

The Prime Minister’s meeting followed extensive consultations that the trade union leaders held with an inter-ministerial panel headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley.

“The Prime Minister heard the views of the trade union leaders on various issues of interest to workers, including in areas related to economic policy, and related laws,” an official statement said.

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However, emerging out of the meeting, trade union leaders said the Prime Minister had not given any assurance and hence they would go ahead with their September 2 nation-wide strike in support of their 12-point charter of demands.

“The Prime Minister said that the tripartite mechanism of discussions should be maintained…but trade unions said that the consensus from these consultations should also be accepted,” said Tapan Sen, MP (CPI-M) and general secretary CITU after the hour long meeting, adding that there was no assurance on any issue by the government.

However, terming the meeting as “satisfactory,” BN Rai, president, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh said, “The meeting was an initiative taken by the government to try and resolve all our demands. The Prime Minister heard us with a lot of attention.”

Besides the union leaders, the tea meeting was also attended by the inter-ministerial panel members Jaitley, labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, power minister Piyush Goyal and minister of state in PMO Jitendra Singh.

Earlier in the day, the trade unions also met with the group of ministers led by finance minister Arun Jaitley and discussed issues relating to price rise and labour law reforms.

“The meeting focused on price rise and the need to insulate workers from insurance. We also told them that the government will be resented for their labour law ‘violations’” said Sen, adding that Jaitley said the panel will meet again.

Unions likely to oppose proposed reforms at labour congress today

New Delhi: The 46th Indian Labour Congress (ILC) will be held in New Delhi on July 20-21, amid efforts by the government to push some much-needed labour reforms.

The ILC, to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi on Monday, will likely see the unions opposing some of the reforms proposed with the objective of improving ease of doing business, while welcoming some which are seen to be worker-friendly.

The government had proposed changes in the existing labour laws to empower industry to appoint “fixed-term” employees and is also looking at a toughening of the terms to form trade unions. However, some of the steps which are seen to be labour-friendly include the raising of the salary threshold for bonus eligibility for the workers in the organised sector. FE

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