VADODARA: The Gujarat government is all set to implement new labour laws from January 2016, which take greater control over running of industries while trying to minimise disputes between labourers and employees in out-of-court settlement by way of compounding offence.
Talking to PTI, Gujarat Labour Minister Vijay Rupani said, "I have already signed the papers in this regard and it is expected to be notified in two to three days." After passage of Gujarat Labour Laws (Gujarat Amendment) Bill 2015 in February this year, it was sent to the Government of India and President for getting their assent, he said. The new labour laws will change certain basic definitions in the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and clauses in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, which allow more policing of the state over industries.
It includes reforms like payment of wages by cheque, in establishments that employ over 20 labourers which means that nearly 1.2 crore labourers in Gujarat, who will get wages by cheques, will see them transferred into their bank accounts created under Pradhanmantri Jan Dhan Yojana, said Rupani. Also, I will pitch the state as a safe investment destination having zero industrial accident and complete labour peace at the 8th edition of the Vibrant Global Gujarat industrial investment Summit to be held from 11-13 January, he said.
According to official sources a lot of changes have been made in the laws. Firstly, an industrial unit employing more than 50 persons will compulsorily have to get itself registered online with the state government. Inspection will be done at regular intervals in every unit and officers of concerned departments will conduct inspection simultaneously. "We will also have a voluntary audit scheme. We shall award stars to firms opting for audit and it will be helpful in export, bank transactions etc," official sources said.
The laws empower an employer to change nature of work of an employee without any prior notice and also reduce the time limit from three years to one year for an employee to file case against employer in case of a dispute. The most striking feature in the new law is to make labour disputes a compoundable offence, which means disputes can be settled out of court with government playing mediator.
Rupani said the new labour laws are aimed at ushering in transparency and securing rights of labourers. "We have introduced a provision of compounding offences." Labourers and industry houses had to move the court to resolve small disputes and this used to take a lot time. But, under the new provisions, an offence can be compounded and 75 per cent of fine collected through such settlements will go towards welfare of labourers, he said.
The new laws provide that labourers working on contract and for outsourcing agencies would also be coveredunder the Minimum Wages Act. Plus, industrial units employing more than 20 people will have to pay salary through cheques or fund transfer in bank accounts. Sources said the laws also have provisions to ban strikes in public utility services for up to one year.