Four bills of the labour and employment department that watered down existing provisions of The Industries Disputes Act, 1947 and the Factories Act, 1948, in favour of employers and industrial establishments were passed by the Gujarat state assembly yesterday. The state cited economic circumstances arising out of the pandemic for making the changes.
The opposition Congress party walked out during discussion on the The Labour Laws (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2020.
The first bill tabled by state minister for labour and employment Dilip Kumar Thakor was The Industrial Disputes (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2020. The bill allows industrial establishments with less than 300 workers to shut shop or retrench or lay off employees without seeking prior permission from the state government.
The minister pointed out that as per the existing provision of Section 25K of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, industrial establishments with not less than 100 workers need to take prior permission of the state government before effecting layoff, retrenchment and closure. This has been now amended to cover industries employing 300 workers, according to Indian media reports.
“We have seen that similar changes brought by states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have yielded good results. The changes will attract more business and investments into the state and thus will create more job opportunities,” Thakor said.
The government had introduced an ordinance in this regard in July 2020. The bill was passed by a voice vote, despite opposition by members of the Congress party who said that the state government needed to stand with workers instead of employers.
The three other bills included The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2020, which revised the existing threshold limit of workmen employed by contractors or establishments covered under The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 to more than 50 employees. Earlier, units with 20 or more employees were covered under the Act.
The Factories (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2020, waters down the definition of factory under the Factories Act, 1948.
“Due to increase in manufacturing activities by small units in the state, the existing threshold limit of ‘ten’ and ‘twenty’ is proposed to be amended by ‘twenty’ and ‘forty’ respectively so that establishing of small manufacturing units be promoted resulting in creation of more employment opportunities,” the minister said.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)