ILO probes CTUs’ complaint on unfair labour laws

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on June 11, 2020 Published on June 11, 2020

UN agency sends questionnaire seeking details on bipartite and tripartite social dialogue mechanisms in India

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is following up on the complaint by Central Trade Unions (CTUs) that the Indian government has undermined Convention 144 relating to tripartism during the lockdown.

Tripartism refers to the three-party contract between employers’ organisations, trade unions and the government, a key factor in industrial relations.

In response to complaints from 10 CTUs to Director-General, Guy Ryder, the UN agency has sent a 21-point questionnaire seeking details and clarifications on bipartite and tripartite social dialogue mechanisms in India. The questionnaire also includes references to wage and job losses during the lockdown.

The CTUs have reportedly decided to flag the existing problems in the mechanism in their reply, which will be sent separately to the ILO in the coming days. The questionnaire, a copy of which is with BusinessLine, said the aim of their missive to CTUs is to obtain information on key bipartite and tripartite social dialogue mechanisms that exist in India and to understand activities undertaken by these mechanisms to respond to the Covid-19 crisis.

Resilient social dialogue

The ILO said the questionnaire is meant to identify gaps for focussed short-, medium- and long-term interventions to build the resilience of these mechanisms for better response to future crises.

“The information obtained from the questionnaire will allow the initial development of a single repository of data on the bipartite and tripartite social dialogue mechanisms in South Asia, and their roles in responding to the Covid-19 crisis. It is also intended to enable the identification of needs for further technical support to these mechanisms, and their constituents, in a more targeted and structured way, with the objective of building more resilient social dialogue mechanisms for the future,” ILO’s letter to trade unions said.

The ILO questionnaire also wanted the CTUs to describe whether such mechanisms functioning at national level and State level are sectoral and which are statutory. The ILO has sought details about the Constitution, terms of reference and protocols of such mechanisms.

“What is the representation on each of these key bipartite and tripartite social dialogue mechanisms (i.e. number of representatives per constituency)? How many women are represented in each of these mechanisms? Are any of these mechanisms bipartite-plus or tripartite-plus? Which of these mechanisms are currently active/operational, dormant/non-functional, or not sure of their status?” the questionnaire said.

Details on wage pay

The ILO asked the CTUs to provide the most significant accomplishments made by each of these key mechanisms in the past three to five years. The UN agency has also wanted an assessment of the measures to address the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis by the mechanisms, specifically on wages payments, layoffs, working hours, OSH, social protection benefits, support to MSMEs etc.

A senior trade union leader said they will reply to the questionnaire keeping in mind the current developments in the labour sector.

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Published on June 11, 2020
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