TUs deplore draft rules of IR Code

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on May 05, 2021

Central Trade Unions say they will launch an agitation if the Centre goes ahead with the proposal. There are major gaps in the rules that will weaken workers’ representation

The Centre has published draft rules on section 14 and 22 of Industrial Relations Code. The Rules, dealing with recognition of trade unions and verification of its membership, have received sharp reaction from Central Trade Unions, including the BMS.

According to the draft rules, in establishments where there is only one registered functional trade union, the union will be recognised only if it has a membership of not less than thirty per cent of the total workers. The employer should appoint an independent officer without any interest with any of the trade unions to verify the membership.

BMS general secretary Binay Kumar Sinha said it is a welcome step that at least Government has plans to recognise trade unions. “But they have violated the parent Act, the Code itself. For single unions, the new provision is that a negotiating Union can be made with just 30 per cent of workers. We have been demanding that only a union with at least 70 per cent membership in an establishment can work as the sole negotiating union. They are silent about negotiating council,” Sinha said.

“The verification must be done by an impartial officer. They have not mentioned the procedures for membership verification for casual workers and temporary workers. This is highly objectionable. We will give a detailed response to the Ministry in 30 days,” Sinha said.

CITU general secretary Tapan Sen said “The cut off point for becoming a member in the negotiating panel has been increased to 30 per cent (membership of total workers) to 20 per cent. It is too high a figure. It is against the present practices. And what are the modalities? They have not committed anything. Also, they are silent about recognition of Central Trade Unions. There are established norms for this. It has been done away with. This will empower the Centre to pick and choose.”

AITUC general secretary Amarjeet Kaur said the the Centre has messed up the Labour Laws with multiplicity of definitions and has failed in covering more workers under social security, etc. “The AITUC therefore rejects the proposed draft rules, which can be seen to allow interference by the employer in the functioning of the Trade Union. Further, when the IR Code subsumes three Acts, the draft rules pertain only to the portion related to the Trade Union Act. This piece meal approach will create further confusion. The AITUC demands that the Central Government convene the long overdue Indian Labour Conference immediately and discuss threadbare the necessity of the proposed labour law changes with the Trade Unions and Employers,” she said.

The process for constitution of the negotiating union or the negotiating council shall commence three months before the expiry of the tenure of the existing recognition period of the registered trade unions, the draft rules say.

The Trade Unions should satisfy conditions such as: the application for recognition made by the trade union shall be accompanied with the copy of the registration certificate, copy of list of members, details of the membership subscription and copy of latest annual return submitted to Registrar of Trade Unions, the draft rules adds.

Though passed in Parliament, the Centre has not notified three of the four Labour Codes. The Assembly elections and the delay on the part of States in drafting rules are being given as the reason for it. The trade unions have opposed the codes and the rules and have warned of protests of the Centre does not withdraw them.

Published on May 05, 2021

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