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Govt introduces Industrial Relations Code bill in LS


New Delhi: The Central government on Thursday introduced the Industrial Relations Code Bill 2019 in the Lok Sabha even though the move was opposed by the Congress and other opposition parties.

The Congress and other opposition parties called it an "anti-labourer" bill and demanded to refer it to the parliamentary standing committee on labour.

In his introductory remarks over the Bill, Union Minister Santosh Gangwar rejected the opposition's allegation and said the Bill is not against the rights of labourers and that it is part of the government's initiative to reform labour laws by amalgamating 44 legislations related to labourers into four codes.

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week had approved the Industrial Relations Code Bill, which is the third code under labour reforms.

The Bill provides for setting up of a two-member tribunal (in place of one-member), thus introducing a concept that some of the important cases will be adjudicated jointly and the rest by a single-member resulting in speedier disposal of cases.

It also provides for imparting flexibility to the exit provisions relating to retrenchment and others, for which the threshold for prior approval of appropriate government has been kept unchanged at 100 employees, but added a provision for changing such number of employees through notification (executive order). That means there would be no need for Parliament approval. The threshold can be changed by executive order.

It also said the re-skilling fund is to be utilised for crediting to workers in the manner to be prescribed.

The Bill also provides for definition of Fixed Term Employment and that it would not lead to any notice period and payment of compensation on retrenchment excluded.

It also provides for vesting of powers with the government officers for adjudication of disputes involving penalty as fines thereby lessening the burden on tribunals.

The draft code on Industrial Relations has been prepared after amalgamating, simplifying and rationalising the relevant provisions of three Central Labour Acts "the Trade Unions Act, 1926, the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947."

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