Government completes tripartite talks on labour codes

A provision under the OSH Code exempts workers from labour laws if employed in establishments with less than 50 workers.

The government on Wednesday completed tripartite consultations for four new labour codes, moving a step closer to finalising the rules and their subsequent implementation. Aimed at maintaining a balance between the rights of workers and the requirements of the industry to boost employment generation, three labour codes – on industrial relations, social security and occupational safety & health (OSH) – were passed in the last Monsoon session.

Separately, the code on wage was passed in 2019 but its implementation was held back because the ministry wanted to enforce all the codes in one go.

Labour secretary Apurva Chandra had last week said that rules under the all the four codes will be readied before the month-end and the rules thereunder may be implemented at any day after that. During the meeting, the RSS-affiliated BMS demanded that each and every contract worker should be brought under the purview of the labour codes. A provision under the OSH Code exempts workers from labour laws if employed in establishments with less than 50 workers.

“BMS strongly objected to the exclusion of contract labour from the purview of labour codes in units with up to 50 workers and said codes should provide for their protection. BMS demanded that code should provide that contractors would comply with ESI and EPF rules strictly ,” representatives of the largest trade union said at the meeting.

Employer’s liability to pay wages, EPF, ESI and other benefits should be ensured even when just one contract worker is employed, he added during the talks.