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Workers exploitation at the name of reforms

Workers exploitation at the name of reforms

Ubaidullah Nasir

Ubaidullah Nasir


Government and corporate media terms it as labour reform but actually it is labour exploitation. Taking benefit of the unusual economic and social circumstances BJP ruled Gujarat UP and MP governments have brought sea changes in labour laws .In UP all laws protecting the interests of labours have been freezed for three years it means even in case of worst exploitiation they may not seek legal remedy it is not only against the interests of working class but denial of their fundamental rights also which is unconstitutional .The working hours of labours have been increased from eight to twelve hours .Government has not taken care of the health of the workers even a machine get hot after long hours of movement an animal is tired after after a certain period of work but according to government a worker has no right to be tired and puzzled. Moreover it will increase unemployment also because when one worker will be made to work equivalent to two workers employer will need less work force. On one hand India is facing acute unemployment worst in fifty years on the other hand government is making such laws which will further increase the number of unemployed. Industry since introduction of new economic policy in ninetees has been demanding power of hire and fire which inspite of so many reforms was not accepted keeping in mind workers right of legal remedy, but now it has been granted to employer .This policy may please corporate houses, industries and investors but will increase industrial unrest thus hamper production and unemployment both together will be detrimental to national interest and economy. Removing company’s obligation to comply with the provisions of Industrial dispute act is nothing but blatant disregard of workers rights. There may be some clauses in the act which do not suit present era of market economy they should have been removed after taking into confidence trade unions and workers representatives yet leaving workers at the mercy of employer without providing them any legal protection is against the basics norms of a welfare state. With abundance of workers in labour market the negotiating and bargaining power of workers has already nosedived yet not providing them any legal protection is barbaric. System of fixed term employment though not very appreciatable because it will render worker jobless after a certain period and this period may have snatch the age factor from that worker, suppose a worker terms end at the age of fifty years just imagine will it be possible for him to get another job and this is the age when family responsibility of a person are highest even then government should ensure that these contract workers receives all social securities including PF, gratuity bonus with golden handshake at par with permanent employees. Pension system through PF at present is nothing but a cruel joke with the workers this is round about one thousand per month. If regulations designed to support workers are suspended it will remove the difference between a permanent worker and contractual workers.
These so called reforms have been opposed by Congress and even RSS wing of trade union. Kerala labour minister has categorically said that his state doesn’t need investment at the cost of workers interest. Civil society activists have also criticized governments decision terming it as undermining the workers right and compromising their interest .Removing protective measures and dismantling he welfare architecture is not only arbitrary and illegal but barbaric too said an activist.

Governments must understand that any shortsighted move will end up increasing workers vulnerability at a time distress and dark future ahead specially when unemployment is all time high. Industry corporate houses may welcome these labour reforms but national consensus is that at this critical juncture workers interest must be protected and every possible relief must be provided to them. Government and employers both must realise that their work force is not adversary but complimentary to each other labour is as much an important factor of production as entrepreneur .Government is expecting higher investment through these labour reforms but it has to realise the basic principle of economics unless purchasing power of common man is increased there will be no consumption and if there is no consumption there may not be production then where will be the investment?

Hope good sense will prevail and governments will ensure that rights of workers are protected for smooth movement of developments wheel .

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