Union Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar Tuesday introduced in the Lok Sabha a Bill aimed at facilitating the recognition of trade unions at the central and state levels, ensuring representation of workers in tripartite bodies, checking arbitrary nomination of workers’ representatives by the government, and reducing litigation and industrial unrest.
The Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill 2019 met with opposition from the Congress, CPI(M) and RSP. The CPI(M) staged a walkout after terming it “draconian and unconstitutional”.
Gangwar said there was no legal framework so far for the representation of trade unions in policymaking and the proposed legislation will address this issue. The existing Act provides for only registration of trade unions, but there is no provision for recognition.
Regarding the strike called by 10 trade unions on January 8 and 9 against the government’s policies, Gangwar claimed that it had no impact.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, CPI(M) members M B Rajesh and Anirudhan Sampath, and RSP MP N K Premachandran opposed the introduction of the BiIl.
Gangwar said all the issues can be discussed “when the Bill comes up for discussion”.
Tharoor demanded that the Bill be referred to the standing committee. “It was introduced surreptitiously. It is a direct abuse of rules of the House…”
Premachandran said the Bill has been brought in at a time when the workforce was on strike for two days. “I want to know that what is the criteria for recognising trade unions?” he asked.
Sampath said, “This Bill is against Article 23 and 24 of Constitution… This is going to cut the throat of the working class. This is a draconian Bill.”