5 August : The Union Minister of Labour and Employment Shri Oscar Fernandes has said that the labour laws should be made relief oriented and workers friendly. He has said that interest of unorganized sector should be safeguarded at any cost as 94 per cent of the total workforce is employed in this sector only.
Inaugurating the All India Conference of the Chief Labour Commissioners and the Regional Labour Commissioners here today, Shri Fernandes said that the Labour Commissioners should undertake special crash programme to ensure payment of minimum wages and these efforts should lead to tangible relief to workers. He also announced that the Central Government would issue notification for the minimum wages in respect of employment of sweeping, cleaning and watch and ward also very shortly. He expressed the hope that sizeable number of workers engaged in these two employments would have a sigh of relief with this initiative.
Asserting on high level of compliance of the labour standards, Shri Fernandes said that it cannot be ensured by launching prosecutions only. Efforts should be made to get the irregularities rectified by educating and persuading the employers. He advised the officers that they should not restrict themselves only to their conventional and traditional role but also play a pro-active role as facilitator, advisor and guide to the employers, unions and workers so that there is a willing and voluntary compliance with the provisions of labour laws by the employers and at the same time the workers are made aware of their duties and responsibilities.
The Minister said that in the present scenario of globalisation no economy can function in isolation. A number of changes are taking place which are affecting the industries and the workers alike. This, in fact, is the crucial phase of re-adjustment where our energy, resources and tact will be tested to the maximum. Hence there is need to adapt the changes accordingly and make the labour administration more effective.
Appreciating efforts in achieving settlement in some of the recent industrial disputes, Shri Fernandes said that settlement in Neyveli Lignite Corporation which ensured a significant pay hike for over 13,000 contract labour and other benefits, should be taken as a model.
The agenda for two days conference include settlement of industrial disputes, enforcement of labour laws, implementation of awards and issues related welfare of the workers. The Conference is being attended by the chief Labour Commissioners and Regional Labour Commissioners of the country.