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Karnataka amends labour laws, AITUC union opposes

The Karnataka government on 24th july announced a slew of amendments in labour laws, including the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970, and the Factories Act, 1948.

While trade unions have strongly opposed it, the government said that the changes have been proposed to help industries hit by COVID-19 and to attract investments under the New Industrial Policy, 2020-2025, which was passed by the Cabinet on 24th july.

Now after amendment,the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 will exempt industries that employ up to 300 workers from the provisions of the Act, raising the limit from the current exemption of those having up to 100 workers.

The overtime limit per quarter will be increased from 75 to 125 hours with the amendments to the Factories Act, 1948.

Further, the changes to the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970, will exempt factories employing up to 50 workers from seeking licences, up from the 20 workers now.

The applicability of the Factories Act, 1948, has been changed. Earlier, those factories, with electricity connection and employing 10 workers or more, came under the Act. Now the limit has been raised to 20 workers.Women will be allowed to work in night shifts, between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., in the factories registered.

While Sections 64 and 65 of the Factories Act, 1948, which deal with exemptions to industries, will also be amended, Govt. said that the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 will be amended to change rules pertaining to contract employment and fixed term employment.

The periodicity of the revision of minimum wages will be fixed under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and will be linked to factors like inflation and the consumer price index, Labour Minister added.

AITCU has opposed the changes citing the reason that by these amendments, many factories will be out of coverage of such Act meaning thereby that workers working in exempted factories will have no protection in terms of safety, security and job.