‘Amend law to ensure contract workers equal wage, work hours’
A Parliamentary panel has pitched for amending laws for contract labour in the Budget Session to provide for equal wages, working hours and other conditions of services at par with regular employees.
“There is now an urgent need for amendment to the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970, which should be the guiding force for the protection of rights of a huge work force of Contract Labourers in the country in terms of wages, hours of work, holidays and other conditions of service similar to that of regular employees,” Parliamentary Committee on Petitions chaired by Bhagat Singh Koshyari said in a report tabled in Parliament on Friday.
Noting that the country needs not only the urgent redressal of grievances of the Contract Labourers but also making a workable formulation to induce the Contractors and the Principal Employers to adhere to the various provisions of the Act.
The Committee recommend that the government should finalise all the deliberations relating to amendment of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970.
The Committee said, “(We) expect and trust that self- contained proposals, in the form of a Bill, shall be introduced in the Parliament by the Government during the Budget Session of 2017.”
It recommended that the government focus on coalescing all the existing Labour Laws into one unified piece of legislation with specific provisions covering Labour-Management relations, wages, social security, safety at workplace, welfare provisions, terms and condition of employment, recognition of trade unions, provisions regarding collective bargaining, and above all, enforcement of International Labour Standards. Such a comprehensive legislative enactment would also serve as a model for the State Governments, it said.
Apart from the provisions contained in the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970, the rights of Contract Labourers are protected by various Labour Laws, the Committee noted.
These include Industrial Disputes Act of 1947; Employees’ Compensation Act of 1923; Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provision Act of 1952; Employees State Insurance Act of 1948; Maternity Benefit Act of 1961; Payment of Wages Act of 1936; Minimum Wages Act of 1948; Equal Remuneration Act of 1976; Payment of Gratuity Act of 1972; Payment of Bonus Act of 1965; Mines Act of 1952; Factories Act of 1948 and so on.
The Committee pointed out that the overall welfare and protection of rights of workers could not be effectively achieved by way of making amendments only to the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 — in view of the fact that other Labour Laws also deal with various aspects connected with their well being in the form of health, safety and social security.