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India – Staffing federations urges swift changes to labour laws

22 February 2013

The Indian Staffing Federation (ISF) has called on the government to speed up the process of fostering “healthier, relevant, implementable and easy to understand labour laws.” This follows a massive two-day strike which is likely to cause a “substantial” loss to the Indian economy, the federation warned.

The transport, manufacturing, retail, healthcare and banking sectors will suffer the most by the strikes. The federation said the strike over improving working conditions was “totally uncalled” for.

“Apart from taking away livelihood of millions of Indians who depend on their daily earnings to make ends meet it shall do little to improve the regulatory environment in India. The demand raised by unions may be genuine but with over 90,000 approx trade unions in India, it is difficult to keep a tab on demands meted out through strikes.

“Most of their demands which include improving the working conditions in informal sector, minimum wage, social security, PF & bonus limit can only be addressed through labor law reforms which is the need of the hour especially in developing countries like India.”

The federation said reforms are badly needed to “push the ‘undeclared work’ taking place currently outside the purview of the legal system towards a formal setup.” It warned that job growth is hindered and called on stakeholders to introduce labour laws faster. “This will encourage employment or employability attending to the needs of a wider workforce rather than protect the interests of those already protected in the formal sector,” said the ISF.

Indian labour laws are among the most restrictive (for the employer) and complex in the world according to the World Bank. Many laws have not been updated since colonial times despite regular demands for revision.


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