rao.shyamprasad@gmail.com
Good morning sir, our company is a CPSU facing a illegal strike by contract labour union (union by contract labour of all major contractors) for demand of wage related matter, which results complete stoppage of all construction activities. Matters are pending before the RLC ( Central). As the labourer are belongs to contractors employee what would be our action against the major contractors as they are not resolving the issues of their laborer by which our establishment facing serious financial problems.
From India, Faridabad
PROFESSIONALS AND BUSINESSES PARTICIPATING IN DISCUSSION
Umakanthan53
Labour Law & Hr Consultant
Madhu.T.K
Industrial Relations And Labour Laws
Ram K Navaratna
Hr Consultancy
KK!HR
Management Consultancy

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Madhu.T.K
3726

Since the issue is before the official conciliation machinery, you have to wait for a settlement. In the meantime, however, you can talk to the contractors and take them into confidence and resume the work. It is illegal on the part of the workers to go for strike when a conciliation is going on. But that is law. As far as agitators are concerned, this will not pacify them. All unrest will have a common factor, ie, violation of law. hence it is waste of time to discuss the provisions of ID Act or any other law in force and the legality of strike with the contractors and or their workers. It is also waste to discuss their right to strike. What is required is to take the workers/ union into confidence and discuss the issue in the presence of a conciliation officer. Yes, you can ask the RLC, the conciliation officer, to prepone the hearing.

I would like to invite Umakanthan Sir, who had served the position of Labour Commissioner in his career, to share his practical knowledge and experience in this matter.

From India, Kannur
KK!HR
1313

First of all as the Principal Employer, what is your stand, are you ready to negotiate the matter with the contractor labour unions or prepared for confrontation. In case you agree for revising the wages, the contractors will seek enhancement of contract value which cannot be agreed in normal run as per government rules and practice. Are you prepared for the same?. In the alternative are you agreeable for a long drawn out matter, how critical is the project completion need?. Another important aspect is the support and cooperation of the contractors, what is their say on ending the strike. Once you are clear on how the issue is to be dealt with the details can be worked out
From India, Mumbai
umakanthan53
5878

I agree with the observations of Mr.Madhu.

Law is always based on reason and rationality and emotions are inconsequential in a legal dispute. But it does not mean that altogether we have to ignore the emotional value ingrained in the cause of action leading to a dispute involving questions of law particularly in labor disputes most of which arise from the feelings of social injustice.

If we dispassionately analyze in this back drop, the contract labor system is a form of indirect labor in which the cost or gains of labor is shared by the contractor who mobilizes the labor and the workmen who actually do perform the job under him for the benefit of a third person viz the Principal Employer. Therefore, any PE, whether be a PSU or a private person, cannot simply sit on the wall in a dispute between his contractors and their contract labor relating to revision of wages. Whatever the negative consequence of the dispute, the ultimate sufferer would be the PE and as such the PE has to play a proactive role in the issue.

Mostly contract labor engaged in ad-hoc work like construction are compelled to be content with the statutory Minimum Wages for the sake of their uninterrupted employment. When the disparity between the market wage rates and the Mw rates are wide due to obvious reasons like demand and supply of labor, spiraling inflationary trend in the economy etc., it is quite natural for the contract labor to put up the demand for increase in wages on par or above the prevailing market rate. Unless the PE steps in the issue and comes forward to raise the rates of wages to some acceptable extent under the provision of the escalation clause of the contract with the contractors, the issue cannot be resolved early.

Since the dispute is under conciliation, the PE and the Contractors have to take the RLC into confidence and accept his suggestions in this regard.

From India, Salem
Suresh Rathi
80

Legal position has been aptly explained by learned collogues.
However, the plight of PE is that he is not at fault and bears the brunt.
PE pays the Min Wages--fixed by State Govt and at times is still at the mercy of contactors .
Who suffers ?
PE as well as the end users of product.
It is a concern for MNC's as they may face these challenges, both from out sourced and on roll staff

Col.Suresh Rathi

From India, Delhi
Madhu.T.K
3726

True but how many establishments engage contract labour only in non perennial activities? If you do a survey you will find that the majority of establishments engage contract labour in the core activities where full time regular workmen could be employed. When an employer is using the loopholes of law against the workers, the workers have no other go but to agitate. When we cry over the plight of employers, we should also consider the pathetic condition of workers who really work for the Principal employer. Being the workers of contractor they cannot approach the principal Employer and at the same time the contractor is helpless as he can do something only when he gets it from the Principal Employer. The poor workmen will not even get an assistance from a bank when he produces a wage slip issued by a contractor.
From India, Kannur
Suresh Rathi
80

100% right.
But is it not true for Govt concerns employing contractual manpower ?
What safety/ provision is there for say hotels, hospitals and others where the manpower requirement is not static ?
Solicit views please

From India, Delhi
Madhu.T.K
3726

Government departments cannot engage people through any contractor. But Public Service Units being units engaged in some kind of productive activities shall have contractors and their workers.

Hotels etc where manpower requirements may change depending upon the season can have additional manpower during the season to manage the show. But that should be on a contractual employment, ie, fixed term contract but not necessarily through an agency supplying manpower. That being a system wherein the employer himself is engaging the employee (but for a certain period) is fair to an extent but running a business with outsourced labour in core activities is really unfair and should be discouraged.

From India, Kannur
Ram K Navaratna
233

Dear All

Very good discussions.

No doubt law is one; but here the satisfaction leverl of contract labour. Normally PE forgets about contract labour their level of satisfaction and grievance level. Periodically he should check and ascertain.

Satisficed employees whoever he is the key for success.

It seems this fact is a failure here.

Thanks

Ram K Navaratna
HR Resonance

From India, Bangalore
Suresh Rathi
80

Let me play devils advocate-
PE is paying what is permitted by law and is working within frame work of law . He is managing a running concern and needs ROI's. If he is not breaking any rules then law and Lab dept should hold his hand , which is seldom the case.

From India, Delhi

If you are knowledgeable about any fact, resource or experience related to this topic - please add your views.








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