Hit by lockdown, industry places key demands before govt

Chennai: Employers’ associations have demanded suspension of labour laws barring some key provisions across the country for next two-three years to help the industry come out of the crisis induced by the lockdown to combat Covid-19 pandemic.

Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar on Friday held a webinar with employers’ bodies such as CII, FICCI, Assocham and AIMO to discuss issues like restarting economic activities, job creation and measures to improve the situation of MSMEs to enable them to discharge their liabilities under labour laws.

K E Raghunathan, immediate past national president and Kenny Ramanand, honorary general secretary of All India Manufacturers’ Organisation (AIMO), made a submission on migrant labourers, labour laws and salary issues.

Speaking to News Today, Raghunathan said, “Over 15 million migrant labours both belonging to intra State and inter State were stranded, treated like slaves, suffered worst. AIMO strongly advocated for setting up of Migrant Labour Welfare Board immediately and plan for construction of atleast 2000 bedded hostels for them at every Industrial estate, economic processing zone and district headquarters.”

He said that already many States are amending their labour laws and it is hightime the Centre modifies and immediately comes out with liberalised labour laws which are already delayed for the last several years.

“AIMO requested for withdrawal of directive for making compulsory salary payments and requested for clarification on how to treat the non-working staff salary during the reduced staff working period as directed by State governments and whether action can be taken on employees who refuse to attend duty at this need of the hour,” he added.

AIMO requested the government to consider exemption from payment of PF and ESI without any rider conditions for next three months.

For the attention of TN CM

In his ‘most urgent’ request to Tamilnadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Raghunathan said, “Industry wants relaxation of labour laws like many States, Rs 5,000 should be paid to about five lakh migrant labourers to retain them back and, to avoid electricity fixed charges like Karnataka”.