Tag Archives: ILO

MRF United Workers’ Union Case: Ramapriya Gopalakrishnan

This guest post has been sent to us by RAMAPRIYA GOPALAKRISHNAN. She is a lawyer practising in the Madras High Court working on labour rights, environmental and human rights issues. She is one of the two lawyers who appeared for the MRF United Workers’ Union before the Madras High Court.

The MRF United Workers’ Union case – Ruling of the Madras High Court on the recognition of trade unions

The workers in the Arakonam factory of MRF Limited, a tyre major, ended their 125 day old strike on September 14, 2009 and resumed work following the pronouncement of the much awaited verdict in the case filed by the MRF United Workers’ Union before the Madras High Court concerning the recognition of the union by the management of the company.

The Arakonam factory of MRF Limited in Vellore District in Tamil Nadu is the largest of the six tyre manufacturing factories of the company.  The workers in the factory are paid piece rate wages with no transparency in the process. They do not have any information on what constitutes a ‘piece’ and the rate at which they will be paid for the ‘piece.’ Moreover, the number of ‘contract workers’ engaged in the factory for direct production work is more than twice the number of direct confirmed workers engaged for doing the same work. These facts by itself would indicate the status of labour law compliance in the factory. There was thus a long felt need among the workers for an independent and effective trade union to protect their interests.

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Company Secretary to Replace Inspector

New Delhi: While the Manmohan Singh government’s Left-free second innings is expected to usher in changes to India’s archaic labour laws, the labour ministry is working on a quick-fix solution to help drop the country’s notorious ‘inspector raj’ tag.
If all goes to plan, India Inc would no longer have to deal with labour inspectors turning up at their premises to check compliance with 43 central and myriad state labour legislations. Instead, firms can submit a certificate from a company secretary that validates their compliance with the numerous employment laws.
( The Indian Express, Vikas Dhoot, Posted: Wednesday, Aug 05, 2009 at 0137 hrs IST)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led government’s ‘left free second innings’ seems to be taking the battle against ‘archaic labour laws’ full steam ahead. The outgoing Union Labour Secretary, Ms Sudha Pillai, some time back shared with the media about the draft which is being prepared in the labour ministry to this effect.
The proposal, which would be shortly submitted in the form of a cabinet note, seeks to ‘permit company secretaries to file compliance reports for labour laws, just like they give compliance reports for other laws.’ As of now the role of the company secretary is limited to certifying the said firm’s compliance with various statues, which includes the companies act, 1956 and also the listing agreement with stock exchanges and the issue of compliance with labour laws is handled by the labour inspectors.
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