Ministers panel to take more time to finalise wage, IR codes


NEW DELHI: The ministerial panel on labour issues headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will take some more time to finalise drafts of the New Industrial Relations Code and the Wages Code.

The panel deliberated on the suggestions for the two codes in a meeting held today which was also attended by Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Power Minister Piyush Goyal.

After the meeting, Goyal said that the panel has just discussed the two codes and has not finalised the final drafts for the Cabinet approval and passage in Parliament subsequently.

Dattatreya said that the panel discussed the entire wage code while a part of industrial relations code was also deliberated upon.

Asked whether there would be more discussions on the two codes, the Labour Minister said that there could be another meeting on the two bills later this month.

Earlier, the minister had indicated that the two bills would be pushed for passage in Parliament during the second leg of the Budget Session beginning tomorrow.

The two bills are significant as they form part of the efforts of the government to improve ease of doing business. Labour Ministry has planned to concise about 44 labour laws into four codes–industrial relations, social security and safety, health & working conditions.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh did not attend the meeting.

Trade unions have been opposing certain amendments brought in these codes and have already submitted their dissent note on those.

Among other things, the New Industrial Relations Code, proposes to raise ceiling for number of workers from 100 to 300 for units which can go for closure, retrenchment or lay off without government approval.

At present, all units with up to 100 workers are not required to seek government nod for closure, retrenchment or lay off.

The government has completed tripartite discussions on the these two codes to seek stakeholders’ including industry, unions and states, view on the two draft legislations.

The proposed code on wages would subsume Minimum Wages Act of 1948, the Payment of Wages Act of 1936, the Payment of Bonus Act of 1965 and the Equal Remuneration Act of 1976.

Similarly, Code on Industrial Relations would subsume Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.