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Govt. Introduced new remaining three labour codes in parliament

In a significant move, the Govt. has proposed to allow firms with less than 300 workers to hire and fire employees without seeking prior government permission. 9:25

The Govt. on Saturday had proposed changes in the Industrial Relation Code Bill which will allow the firms to hire or fire workers without seeking permission. The bill, however, was viciously opposed by the Congress-led opposition.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2019 and was sent to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour. This bill has now been withdrawn. Later the Parliamentary Standing Committee had made a case to allow companies having less than 300 workers to go for retrenchment of staff or closure without government permission.

The committee gave the example of Rajasthan which has increased the threshold to 300 workers and pointed out that it will increase employment and decrease retrenchment. With regard to the threshold, the government has proposed Section 77(1) in the Industrial Relation Code 2020.

According to the Section, the provisions of "this Chapter (lay-off, retrenchment and closure in the certain establishment) shall apply to an industrial establishment (not being an establishment of a seasonal character or in which work is performed only intermittently) in which not less than three hundred workers, or such higher number of workers as may be notified by the appropriate Government, were employed on an average per working day in the preceding twelve months".

Apart from this code, two others -- Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 and the Code On Social Security, 2020 -- were also introduced by the minister in Lok Sabha.

However, these bills were opposed by the opposition which urged the government to withdraw them and hold wider consultations before introducing them, saying they are a blow to the rights of workers.

The opposition further said that it would severely restricts the right of workers to strike and also allows state or central governments to amend the threshold for applicability relating to layoffs and retrenchment.