Maharashtra Labour Minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar announced on Monday that the the government has set up an advisory board for contractual workers. Officials from the labour department said the State Advisory Contract Labour Board was set up under the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act. The board will be headed by the labour minister while the labour commissioner will be its member secretary.
“Other members of the board include a government representative, three representatives of companies’ managements, two from among contractors and three representatives of labourers,” Nilangekar told the Legislative Council. The board resolves disputes between contractual workers, principal employers and contractors. Labour unions have welcomed the move but demanded that the government must amend the law to make the existing contractual workers permanent. “Many disputes are about permanent employment of contract labourers.
Though the nature of their work is not seasonal, they are hired on contract by principal employers to avoid giving them benefits that permanent labourers are entitled to,” said Sukumar Damle, state president of the All India Trade Union Congress.
Damle added that when contractual labourers approach the advisory board, they are not considered for permanent employment. “The company management hires new people and makes them permanent. It is not mandatory for them to make contractual workers permanent. Our demand is that the state must amend the law to ensure that contractual labourers are considered for permanent employment,” he said.
Officials from the labour department said contractual workers can approach the board to resolve their issues. “Many cases might be pending and will be taken up for hearing. The board will also look into other issues,” said