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India – Staffing industry wants better labour regulations

07 March 2013

At a roundtable debate hosted by the Indian Staffing Federation (ISF) in New Delhi on Wednesday, the International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (Ciett) called on the government to modernise its labour market and regulate the local staffing industry.

Ciett, which counts large recruiters such as Adecco, Allegis, Randstad and ManpowerGroup among its members, said the Indian government should adopt a regulatory framework for temporary staffing which follows labour standards by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). In its Convention 181, the ILO acknowledges the positive impact of regulated private employment services and the protection of agency workers.

Ciett president Fred van Haasteren said it was crucial that steps were taken to fine-tune India’s labour regulations. “Labour sits at the heart of India’s future growth potential. It is therefore critical that India refreshes its regulations to unlock the full potential of the private employment services industry,” he said.

In India, there are 1.3 million agency workers with the vast majority being under 30. Ciett said that proper regulations will benefit India’s labour market by minimising the time lag between economic upturns and job creation, reducing structural and frictional unemployment and decrease the effect of labour market segmentation.

Rituparna Chakraborty from the ISF said: “If the Indian government creates an inclusive and conducive regulatory framework as prescribed in the ILO Convention 181, private employment agencies or staffing companies as they are known in India, will assist India’s humongous labor market transition from the informal to the formal sector, by providing the youth of India a platform that enables them to become more employable and secure a job that is not only fair but a decent one.”

India’s labour laws have been largely unchanged since colonial times and are regarded by many as being unfit for purpose.

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