44 labour laws to be amalgamated into four labour codes: Minister

Kolkata, Oct 13 (IANS) Citing the necessity to promote friendlier labour-industry relations, the central government is in the process of amalgamating 44 labour laws into four sets of labour codes, a union minister said here on Tuesday.

“In the labour law reforms, 44 laws will be combined into four distinctive labour codes – code on wages, code on industrial relations, a code on social security and a code on working conditions and safety,” union Minister of State for Labour Bandaru Dattatreya told mediapersons here on the sidelines of a CII-organised event.

He said a “more friendly” atmosphere between the industry and the labourers needs to be created and the reforms are targeted to this end.

“No rights of the workers are going to be taken away with the reforms,” he said.

As per the minister, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and Equal Remuneration Act of 1975 will be merged to create the wages code.

The government will also be revising the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 to increase it from Rs.160 per day.

“Now we want to enhance it (minimum wages) and it will become statutory. Every state has to implement it. We have already discussed it with state governments,” he said.

The wage increase is poised to happen in one to two months.

The government is also considering increasing the compensation to workers of locked-out plants. Presently, wages for a 15-day period are given to these workers which will be increased to 45 days wages.

“This payment will happen directly into the worker’s bank account through electronic mode and remove the need for any middlemen,” the minister said.

Besides, with the reforms, labourers will continue to enjoy the right to strike but a 14-day notice period has to be served before implementing the strike.

“Strike is a right of the workers,” he said.

Dattatreya said the prevalent laws were archaic dating back more than 50 years and hence need revision to keep up with the changes in the industrial scenario.

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