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India – Staffing federation calls for review of Contract Labour Act after violence

31 July 2012

The Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), which represents the temporary staffing industry, has called for a review of the country’s Contract Labour Act, following a violent incident at a Maruti Suzuki factory in India which led to the death of an HR manager.

After a riot earlier this month, which killed a senior executive and injured almost 100 workers, the ISF has warned that such incidents can have a big impact on job creation in India.

On 18 July, a Maruti Suzuki factory in the Indian town of Manesar saw an outbreak of violence, probably initiated by early-morning shift workers, following a union-management meeting at the plant. A 51-year old HR manager was burned alive in the riot, which also left 96 injured. Marutu Suzuki is a subsidiary of the Suzuki Motor Corporation of Japan and is a leading manufacturer of passenger vehicles in India.

“We believe that irrespective of their nature of employment such an incident has a long term and unprecedented impact on job creation and employment. Such an incident should also be treated as an eye opener for the country as such it indicates an extreme situation of non-existent social dialoguing leading to such barbaric instance of mistrust,” warned ISF’s President, K. Pandia Rajan.

He also argued that the time was now ripe to revisit the 1970 Contract Labour Act. “Since the enactment of this law over four decades ago, the Indian staffing industry has undergone a transformation and a modern staffing industry has now come into being,” Mr Rajan said.

“In so far as contract workers who are managed by staffing companies in the organized sector, one can say with reasonable amount of confidence that the these companies ensure that the interest of the employees are secure and in line with stipulated statutory regulations and definitely help manage these issues effectively along with the client company.”

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