Cabinet Approves Amendments to Three Labour Codes

Published: September 9, 2020

The Union cabinet approved amendments to the labour codes on September 8, 2020. The Three codes include social security, industrial relations, and occupational safety and health (OSH) out of four codes that was proposed in the Industrial Relations Code, 2019 bill.

Highlights of the Industrial Relations Code, 2019

  • The bill recognises trade unions.
  • It seeks to provide pension and medical benefits to gig workers.
  • The codes will define areas and conditions in which fixed-term employment can be allowed.
  • The bill seeks to replace three labour laws namely, the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947; the Trade Unions Act, 1926; and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.
  • It subsumes 44 labour laws into four codes namely, on wages; industrial relations; social security and safety; health and working conditions.
  • The bill proposes that, employee can strike only after providing notice 14 days prior to strike.
  • Factories, mines or plantations needs to take permission from central or state government before firing their workers.
  • Industrial Tribunals would also be constituted for the settlement of industrial disputes.
  • Industrial Tribunal comprises a Judicial member and an Administrative member.

Concerns of the bill

  • It prohibits strikes in establishment if prior notices are not provided.
  • The Code will allow government to reject or modify awards which would be passed by Industrial Tribunals and the National Industrial Tribunal. It violates the principle of separation of powers between government and the tribunal.

Who can make laws for labour?

Labour has been kept under the Concurrent List of the seventh schedule. So, Parliament and state legislatures both can make laws to regulate them.

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