Engaging manpower through some one for a particular work is century old practice in the whole world. You can not imagine any society functioning without this element. This manpower system has always been activity centric, but after economic liberalization in India, the form or shape of this system of engaging people in business as emerged has brought in certain malpractices causing concern to big chunk of working class. This is an era of live-in relationship, where the Contractor “supplies” the people to the industry for their job and industry though, heavily dependent on their efficiency and productivity and enjoy the benefits, do not own them. In times of crisis, neither industry recognize them nor the contractor.
This arrangement of live- in relationship between Industry and contract labour is regulated by the law. Does law infuse trust and confidence? May be, but at least in this case, the arrangement only develops mistrust and agony among contractual workers against the Industry because certain gaps and ambiguities in the present regulatory system provide ample opportunity to the Industry to legally exploit such manpower. Industry should rise and think beyond law. Doing business for profit is not a sin but at the same time it is for all stake holders to realize the consequences of the present practiced model of contractual labour engagement. Law provides only flexibility in engaging contractual manpower and not a tool to be used also for cost effectiveness. This factor of cost effectiveness has been included very intelligently by the industry. Now what the industry wants and practice is the engagement of contract labour which can be removed at any time having no job security that too on bare minimum wages for the similar or same work, which on roll workers perform and get much higher salary. In public sector undertakings you are bound by the internal rules to only engage that contractor who offers the lowest rates to qualify in bid. When manpower is engaged at the lowest rates, corruption and exploitation will outflow. The treatment of second class citizen to contractual workers is increasing social disharmony .This issue, industry can not afford to ignore.
With law having at present, contractual workforce can be engaged any where in any process irrespective of time period unless it is prohibited by the Govt. Even if it is prohibited at a later stage, Industry (principal employer) is not under legal obligation to absorb the manpower on the company rolls. Courts can only intervene when the system adopted by the industry for engaging contractual manpower is only on paper and sham. In this tricky situation, what industry needs is to step in to develop a genuine system of engaging such manpower, where they are paid fairly and treated with dignity.
This time, our cover story is on the aspect of this law and practice, issues and challenges being faced by both industry and contractual workforce. It will help HR professionals to understand the law in correct perspective and make corrections in their prevailing system so that both enjoy this live-in relationship happily.
From India, Delhi
Well-said. Of all the factors of production, only labour is considered to be the most easily bargainable because of its surplusage and vulnerability. Even though the practice of contract labour is age-old in all societies, its root always remains in the judicious distinction between the core and incidental activities of the venture. But unfortunately this distinction has narrowed down and resulted in an exploitative mind-set for the only reason of monetary gains at the cost of humane consideration to one of the indispensible stakeholders.
From India, Salem
Contract labour quite often get shoddy treatment from the employers.
The sad incident in Maruti industries few years ago was partly caused by perceived/actual differential treatment between permanent and contract workers.
The high level of protection to permanent labour especially in Government.PSU has brought about a sense of total security among them.
When management finds it difficult to touch them or discipline them,they look towards contract workers for achievement of tasks.
As long as this dichotomy exists,contract labour will always remain on tenter hooks and they will get exploited.
From India, Pune
Nice post.Inspite of numerous laws for social security of workers,the insecurity is on the rise.Now that govt going online with technology in one hand and laws in other,still the contract workers and lower class worker are exploited and wont get the security in social terms.
My personal view here is,Lack of education,awarness and empathy is the reason for such a situation.
From India, Vadodara
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