Trade unions, including RSS affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), today unanimously opposed Factories Amendment Bill, 2014 which seeks to hike threshold of number of workers in a manufacturing unit covered under the law.
At present, all those factories having 10 workers (using electricity) and 20 workers (without electricity) are covered under the Factories Act, 1948.
"When there are thorough changes proposed after 69 years in the Factories Act, they should be progressive and not one taking our country to the feudal age," the BMS said in a statement issued after the tripartite consultations on the bill held here with the labour ministry.
The BMS said, "It (amendments) should also take care of the interest of all the three stakeholders viz. industries, workers and the society living around it." The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 7, 2014. It was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee in September 2014. The panel gave its report in December 2014.
The BMS said, "Even directions of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour are violated. It directed to guarantee security, safety, health and welfare of the workers/labourers in the Bill."
The BMS said that the amendments have been proposed to help the erring big companies. The government is repeatedly bringing many of the proposals rejected by trade unions making tripartite consultation a mockery.
It said that safety provisions are highly diluted and India will be under the risk of increased factory calamities like Bhopal tragedy in every Indian town.
Echoing similar views, Centre of Indian Trade Unions Tapan Sen said that if you increase the threshold for coverage under the law to 40 then over 80 per cent of the factories would be out of the purview of the legislation.
He pointed out, "I don't know that they are amending this law for whom. They want ease of doing business at the cost of ease of livelihood."
He was of the view that BJP-ruled states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan have already amended their Factories Act to improve ease of doing business but no investment came thereafter.
The BMS as well as other unions have demanded that the threshold limit has to be removed totally. The law should be applicable irrespective of number of workers.
The BMS said that the new amendments contain highly objectionable provisions which are proposed to help the defaulting employers, dilute safety provisions, take away rights and welfare of workers etc.
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