New Delhi: The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) Friday urged the government to shift labour laws from the concurrent to the state list with a view to attract more investment.
“There is a need to shift labour from the concurrent list to the state list for allowing state governments greater freedom in formulating labour policies to attract higher investments,” it said in a charter submitted to Labour Minister Narendra Singh Tomar here.
Noting that antiquated labour laws had blocked employment generation and competitiveness of enterprises, it said employment growth was at an average of 1.6 percent in the past decade (2000-09) as against eight percent envisaged.
“There is a need to minimise and simplify labour laws for better compliance by regrouping them into four categories, governing terms of employment under the Industrial Disputes Act, Industrial Employment Act and Trade Unions Act,” the charter said.
Similarly, laws governing wages should be consolidated under the Minimum Wages Act, Payment of Wages Act and Payment of Bonus Act.
Laws governing welfare need to be consolidated under the Factories Act, Shops and Establishments Act, Maternity Benefits Act, Employees Compensation Act and Contract Labour Act.
Likewise, laws governing social security should be clubbed under the Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act as well as the Employees State Insurance Act and Payment of Gratuity Act.
“A uniform definition of ‘employee', ‘industry' and ‘wages' across labour legislations will minimise litigation,” the paper said.
The Ficci has sought to limit the Industrial Disputes Act to employees receiving salary up to Rs.20,000 a month and exclude those drawing higher salary as they have statutory protection.
The paper also sought a uniform practice of serving 14-day compulsory notice to go on strike or declare a lockout as the provision is applicable to units engaged in public utility services.
It called for adopting the practice of “strike ballot” by trade unions as done in developed countries like Britain, Germany and Australia.
“As seeking government permission to retrench, shut down or lay off by companies with 100 employees is retrograde, its provision in the Industrial Disputes Act has to be revised for applying it to firms employing 300 people, as recommended by the second national commission of labour,” the charter said.
The Ficci favoured re-introducing the fixed term employment under the Industrial Employment Act for executing time-bound and short-term projects. The fixed term was repealed by the previous (UPA) government.
With the industry facing difficulty in hiring additional workers for short-term contracts due to abolition of contract labour from one project to another, it has suggested deleting section 10 of the relevant act to engage contract workers.