Amid the coronavirus lockdown, a parliamentary standing committee has said that during closure of establishments due to natural calamities like earthquake, flood and super cyclone, the payment of wages to workers until the re-establishment of the industry may be “unjustifiable”.
The Standing Committee on Labour, which is headed by BJD member Bhartruhari Mahtab, submitted its report on ‘The Industrial Relations Code, 2019’ to Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla on Thursday under Rule 280.
The Centre had on November 28 last year introduced the Industrial Relations Code in Lok Sabha. It was referred to the Standing Committee in December.
Examining the provisions related to “lay-off, retrenchment and closure”, it was learnt, the report said, “The Committee agree with the Ministry’s contention that since shortage of power, coal etc. does not happen because of the worker, but due to their non-availability, the workers ought to be paid compensation. The Committee have, however, reservations for payment of the prescribed percentage of wages to the workers in the event of closure of an establishment due to natural calamity.”
“The Committee are of the considered opinion that payment of fifty percent wages to the workers for 45 days, which can be extended following an agreement between the employer and employees, in case of shortage of power, breakdown of machinery may be justified. But in case of natural calamities… which often result in closure of establishments for a considerably longer period without the employer’s fault, payment of wages to the workers until the re-establishment of the industry may be unjustifiable,” it stated.
The report also said, “The Committee, therefore, desire that clarity to the above extent be brought in the relevant clauses…”
Mahtab told The Indian Express, “The law has to be fair and just for everyone, and in that respect of something which is beyond the control of the employer, he should not be forced to provide that much of salary because it affects not only employees but also the employers.”
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