Friday, October 17, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Centre for consensus on right to strike
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 16
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said today that the government would amend the existing law for creating more job avenues and promised to sustain the reform process without sacrificing the interests of the working class.

Inaugurating the 39th Indian Labour Conference, Mr Vajpayee said, “Our aim is to make our laws respond better to the needs of millions of poor people in our rural and urban areas, working as landless labour, contract workers on building sites, on road constructions and street vendors.”

The Prime Minister asked both employers and the working class to realise the new realities of the domestic industrial climate and new aspirations in the labour market.

Earlier, Labour Minister Sahib Singh asserted that some sort of mechanism had to be evolved to defend workers’ right to strike. “There is also no question to bring in a hire-and-fire” policy in the country. Even our labour laws are not practical and enforceable. We welcome foreign investment, but not at the cost of our workers.”

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh president Hashu Bhai Dave said the workers’ right to strike was inalienable and called upon the government to bring in a constitutional amendment to include right to strike as a fundamental right.

Indian National Trade Union Congress president Sanjeeva Reddy said the trade unions at their meeting here yesterday decided to bring their anguish and concerns to the notice of the Prime Minister.

They were concerned about the continuing suspension of over 6,000 Tamil Nadu employees, the government’s move to amend the Contract Labour Act to benefit employers and ambiguity in the proposed Unorganised Sector Bill, 2003, among other things.

Mr C.P. Jain of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), speaking on the behalf of employers’ bodies, called for creating a harmonious industrial atmosphere wherein both the employers and the workers could flourish.”

Meanwhile, in recognition of the sentiments of the large labour force and trade unions’ view on the workers’ right to strike in the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling, the Prime Minister today said the Centre was willing to hold talks with the labour organisations to find an “amicable solution to end the deadlock”.

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