'New labour laws do not protect workers’ interests'

New labour laws do not protect workers’ interests: Union

Construction workers and KSCWCU representatives, including president N P Swamy (centre) protest the central government's plans to replace the BOCW with the new Draft Labor Codes 2019 which will some of benefits removed. Photo taken on March 3, 2020.

Construction workers and construction union representatives lambasted the Central government’s quartet of new labour codes as being against the very interests of the labourers they are intended to benefit.

At a protest near Freedom Park on Tuesday, N P Swamy, president, Karnataka State Construction Workers Central Union (KSCWCU), described the government as having flouted a number of checks and balances in its enthusiasm to push the Draft Labour Codes 2019, which is set to simplify 44 existing labour laws and repeal the Building and Other Construction Workers Act (BOCW).

“According to the convention of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), all labour and trade practice reforms have to be done in consultation with workers unions. But did the Modi government consult us? No,” Swamy said.

In an 18-point memorandum to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, the KSCWCU asked the state to oppose the implementation of the Draft Labour Codes.

Swamy said the new codes will erase much of the benefits that construction workers and unions have fought to secure for the past 70 years. “The new codes are part of a larger strategy of easing the task of doing business, but it strengthens employers. What about the workers? At present, they can access 19 benefits, ranging from education for their children, to healthcare, to a marriage subsidy. The new codes will cancel many of these benefits,” he said.

“These codes are a result of the government’s bowing to business interests and Foreign Direct Investment.”

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