New labour codes will force workers into a more precarious existence -Maya John

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published Published on Oct 15, 2020   modified Modified on Oct 15, 2020

-The Indian Express

In real terms, the essential thrust of the new labour codes is the generalisation of a paradigm of labour–capital relations, which is based on reduced state intervention or deregulation, and its corollary, bipartite industrial relations.

With Parliament passing the three new labour codes that replace 25 existing labour laws, the present conjuncture officially marks the end of labour law as we have seen it for most part of the 20th century.

The codes substantially revise the pre-existing thresholds which were used to earmark the ambit of labour law enforcement; namely the size of an establishment’s workforce. The Industrial Relations Code, for instance, allows establishments employing up to 300 workers to layoff and retrench workers or close units without prior approval of the government; thereby pushing out a large section of workers employed in numerous medium-sized enterprises from the ambit of industrial disputes legislation. Earlier this threshold was 100 workers.

Likewise, the codes categorically double the threshold for the applicability of the Factories Act, 1948, i.e. from 10 to 20 workers in the case of establishments run on electricity, and from 20 to 40 workers in the case of units run without electric power.

Even the threshold specified in the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, by which an establishment with at least 100 workers was mandated to formally define employment conditions, has been enhanced to 300 workers. The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, meanwhile, increases the threshold limit of contractor-employed workers from 20 to 50 while allowing the hiring of contract workers in all areas, including core production.

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The Indian Express, 15 October, 2020,

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