--classstrugggle-flipmag classstruggle-mar- 2018-flipbook

Vol. 10, Issue : 3 & 4 March - April 2018 Fixed Term Employment: A Subterfuge for Legitimising Contract Labour In the budget for 2018-19, Central Finance Minister announced the government’s decision to allow hiring of workers on fixed-term contracts for all employers. As a follow up of this announcement the “Industrial employment (standing orders)rules- 1946 have been amended, so as to enable employers to hire workers through fixed term contract method., providing much flexibility in hiring seasonal and other temporary labourers. The Union government thus made it easier for the industry to hire labour contractually for a fixed, implicitly for shorter term. Such labour can be terminated at the end of the contract without any notice, without having to pay any retrenchment compensation whatever. The employers need not renew the contract on its expiry. As usual the FICCI welcomed this move made by the NDA government hailing it that it would ease the doing of business. This move is an outcome of a consultation meeting held on Feb 2018 by the Labour and Employment Ministry with representatives of state governments, trade unions and industry. All the 12 state governments represented in the meeting were in favour of the Fixed Term Contracts (FTC). The RSS affiliated BMS, National Front of Trade Unions (NFITU) and Trade Union Co-ordination Committee (TUCC) have supported the move. The other trade unions walked out of the meeting as a protest over not holding consultations before announcing the move in the Union budget. The supporters of the industry are hailing this move to be a “big ticket labour reform”. In fact this bitter pill of FTC is coated with such a sugar that it provides for more job opportunities, and more secure working conditions. That the FTC workers are ensured with same work hours, wages, allowances and other benefits on par with the permanent workers such as PF, ESI, bonus, gratuity and other compensation in case of accidents or death while at work, is the bait put forwarded before the workers to accept the contract work system which is universally being criticised and opposed. While such a facility of FTC was allowed since October 2016 to the leather and garment industries, now it has been extended to all the sectors. According to the data from the Annual Survey of Industries, the proportion of contractual labour in total employment in industries has increased considerably. During 2014-15, about a third of the total workers employed in factories were hired through contracts and the terms of their employment are worse than the rest. Such worse working conditions and terms are being condemned and opposed strongly by various sections of contract labour, whose basic demand contd. on page no 3 Organ of the Central Committee of CPI(ML)