The Report Of The Second Indian National Labour Commission-2002: - - An Overview

Author:Mr G Shivaji Rao
Profession:Wockhardt Ltd.

The first National Labour Commission 1929, had promised lot in the direction of social security, social welfare, wages, social insurance, industrial relations, industrial adjudication, collective bargaining etc,. In sequel to the recommendations made in the report of the first national commission on labour series of labour enactments were passed.

After the gap of almost 72 years the Second National Labour Commission has been constituted and submitted its report in the year 2002 to the Government of India. At the outset the terms of reference to the commission are as under:

To suggest rationalisation of existing laws relating to labour in the organised sector, and

To suggest an umbrella legislation for ensuring a minimum level of protection to the workers in the unorganised sector.

Before penning down the report, the Commission followed the following methodology:

arrange to consultation / conferences in the major cities of India to get the opinion of the Industry, public, educationalists and so on institutions';

circulated a questionnaire across the industry and the society in terms of the reference

surveys conducted both in organised and unorganised sector

The recommendations of the Commission consists of the chapters, namely - 1). The terms of the reference of the Commission 2).Introductory review, 3).Industrial Development and Progress after independence, 4).Impact of globalisation - in comparison with neighbouring countries, 5).Approach to review laws, 6).Review of laws, 7).Unorganised sector, 8).Social security, 9).Women and Child labour, 10).Skill development, 11).Labour administration, 12).Other matters.

Only relevant part of important chapters with special reference to the organised sector and major recommendations of Commission thereof are dealt verbatim herein below:

Recommendations (verbatim)

1. We recommend that the Central Government and the State Government should have a uniform policy on holidays, only 3 national holidays be gazetted - namely Independence Day, Republic Day and Gandhi Jayanti Day, two more days may be added to be determined by each State according to its own tradition and apart from these each person must be allowed to avail of 10 restricted holidays in the year, Government holidays should be delinked from holidays under the Negotiable Instruments Act.(5.29)

2. Flexibility in the hours of work per week and compensation for overtime. (5.32)

3. Attempt to change the basis of tenure in all jobs (permanent as well as non-permanent) to contractual and for stipulated periods, involves a basic change in attitude and notion. If transforming the basis of all employment is a social necessity because it has become economic necessity for industrial and commercial enterprises, then, it is equally necessary to create social acceptability for the change and the social institutions that can take care of the consequences. (5.34 & 35).

The fundamental change of this type has to be preceded by :

i) evolution of socially accepted consensus on the new perceptional jobs

ii) the evolution of a system of constant up-gradation of employability through training in a wide spectrum of multiple skills

iii) the setting up of a system of social security that includes unemployment insurance and provisions for medical facilities; and

iv) the institution of a mandatory system of two contracts - one, an individual contract and two, a collective contract with workers union.

4. The commission recommends that government may laid down list of highly paid jobs who are presently deemed as workman category as being outside the purview of the laws relating to workman and included in the proposed law for protection of non-workmen. Another alternative is that the Govt. fix a cut off limit of remuneration which is substantially high enough, in the present context such as Rs.25,000/- p.m. beyond which employee will not be treated as ordinary "workman". (6.19) wage ceiling of Rs.25000/-

5. Further the Commission recommended that it would be logically to keep all the supervisory personnel, irrespective of their wages / salary, outside the rank of worker and keep them out of the purview of labour law meant for workers. All such supervisory category of employees should be clubbed along with the category of persons who discharge managerial and administrative functions. The Commission would also recommend that such a modified definition of worker could be adopted in all the labour laws. We expect management to take care of the interest of supervisory staff as they will now be part of managerial fraternity. (6.20) Modified definition of worker

6. Existing set of labour laws should be broadly grouped into four or five groups of laws pertaining to:

i) Industrial relations

ii) Wages

iii) Social security

iv) Safety

v) Welfare and working conditions and so on

The Commission is of the view that the coverage as well as the definition of the term 'worker' should be the same in all Group of laws subject to the stipulation that social security benefits must be available to all employees including administrative, managerial, supervisory and other excluded from the category of workmen and others not treated as workmen or excluded from the category of workmen. (6.21)

7. It is necessary to provide minimum level of protection to managerial and other (excluded) employees too against unfair dismissal or removal. This has to be trough adjudication by labour court or Labour Relations Commission or arbitration.(6.22)

8. Central laws relating to the subject of labour relations are currently the ID Act, 1947, The TU Act, 1926, Industrial Employment (SO) Act, 1946, Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions of Service) Act, 1976. There are State level legislation too on the subject. We recommend that the provisions of all these laws be judiciously consolidated into a single law called " The Labour Management Relations Law" or "Law on Labour Management Relations". (6.26)

9. We would recommend the enactment of special...

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