Labour laws are perceived as bottlenecks for doing business in India, as is evident from its world rank of 102. The primary objective of this project work is to understand the relationship between a corporate employer and its employees or; borrowing terminology from the Industrial Disputes Act 1947; its workmen. On closer examination of industrial laws and prevailing jurisprudence in the country, it is found that not only is the law rigid from the employer perspective, it even fails to vest the employees/ workmen with rights required for playing a meaningful role in the enterprise. Even the judiciary has been reluctant to accept a bigger role for employees in a corporate entity. The work also contains a comparative study with respect to other jurisdictions like Japan and United States. An attempt has also been made to set out a path for the remedial action required based on the American experience.
Labour law is the area of law which signifies the relationship between a worker, trade union and government at large. It plays a major important role in protecting the rights of labour, their union, their wages, and moreover building a link between government and workers. It is a protective code for laborers, workers, and employees as well, to make them aware of their rights and also, to establish a standard law regarding labour work practice. Labour law is often incorrectly conflated with Employment law. However, Employment law is the area of law that specifically deals with the relationship between an employer and employee.
Labour law is concerned with the establishment of a labour-relations framework that provides peaceful industrial relations between labours and organized workers. It is basically related to the matters of labour-relations, functions of a trade union, an adequate environment of working, conditions under which labours are working, strikes and security of the labour. While Employment law or Employment standards law is concerned with the regulation in statute laws, conditions of the workplace, time of working, wages, and so on, both, Labour law and Employment standard laws are commonly related to workers or employees and their way of working.
RIGHTS OF LABOURERS AND LAW IN INDIA
The term ‘labour’ means productive work especially physical work done for wages. Labour law also known as employment law is the body of laws, administrative rulings, and precedents which address the legal rights of, and restrictions on, working people and their organizations. There are two broad categories of labour law. First, collective labour law relates to the tripartite relationship between employee, employer and union. Second, individual labour law concerns employees’ rights at work and through the contract for work.
The law relating to labour and employment in India is primarily known under the broad category of “Industrial Law”. The prevailing social and economic conditions have been largely influential in shaping the Indian labour legislation, which regulate various aspects of work such as the number of hours of work, wages, social security and facilities provided.
The labour laws of independent India derive their origin, inspiration and strength partly from the views expressed by important nationalist leaders during the days of national freedom struggle, partly from the debates of the Constituent Assembly and partly from the provisions of the Constitution and the International Conventions and Recommendations.
The relevance of the dignity of human labour and the need for protecting and safeguarding the interest of labour as human beings has been enshrined in Chapter-III (Articles 16, 19, 23 & 24) and Chapter IV (Articles 39, 41, 42,43, 43A & 54) of the Constitution of India keeping in line with Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy. The Labour Laws were also influenced by important human rights and the conventions and standards that have emerged from the United Nations. These include right to work of one’s choice, right against discrimination, prohibition of child labour, just and humane conditions of work, social security, protection of wages, redress of grievances, right to organize and form trade unions, collective bargaining and participation in management.
The labour laws have also been significantly influenced by the deliberations of the various Sessions of the Indian Labour Conference and the International Labour Conference. Labour legislations have also been shaped and influenced by the recommendations of the various National Committees and Commissions such as First National Commission on Labour (1969) under the Chairmanship of Justice Gajendragadkar, National Commission on Rural Labour (1991), Second National Commission on Labour (2002) under the Chairmanship of Shri Ravindra Varma etc. and judicial pronouncements on labour related matters specifically pertaining to minimum wages, bonded labour, child labour, contract labour etc.
Under the Constitution of India, Labour is a subject in the concurrent list where both the Central and State Governments are competent to enact legislations. As a result , a large number of labour laws have been enacted catering to different aspects of labour namely, occupational health, safety, employment, training of apprentices, fixation, review and revision of minimum wages, mode of payment of wages, payment of compensation to workmen who suffer injuries as a result of accidents or causing death or disablement, bonded labour, contract labour, women labour and child labour, resolution and adjudication of industrial disputes, provision of social security such as provident fund, employees’ state insurance, gratuity, provision for payment of bonus, regulating the working conditions of certain specific categories of workmen such as plantation labour, beedi workers etc.
LIST OF MAJOR LABOUR LAW ACTS IN INDIA-
Worker’s Compensation Act, 1923
The Trade Unions Act, 1926
Payment of Wages Act, 1936
Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946
Indian Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
Minimum Wages Act, 1948
Factories Act, 1948
Maternity Benefits Act, 1961
Payment of Bonus Act, 1965
Minimum Wages Act, 1948, Factories Act, 1948, Maternity Benefits Act, 1961, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 are some important labour laws in India.
We can conclude that to make four laws into one, provide uniformity in labour laws is a good step taken by the government. This act will only be able to achieve its goal if those labours are aware of their rights. In reality, it is seen that labour laws itself not solve the labour problems because workers are poor, illiterate, unaware, and they are weak in negotiating with employers. Most part of Indian Population covers with labour so to earn a livelihood they are controlled by employers’ terms and condition. So, it is the responsibility of the government to protect them by aware them with their rights and duties.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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