Kerala fights Modi’s new labour laws: Where workers become commodities for the “Ease of doing business”

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    Today, the nation is witnessing Kerala take a stand against the central government’s anti-worker policy – the degrading amendment of the Industrial employment bill, 1946. This amendment was made on March 16, 2018, which would allow the employers to hire employees on a contractual(fixed term) basis, according to unique terms decided by the former. Also, it gives the employer powers to terminate the contract on a short notice, without an inclusive responsibility to notify the employee.

    This bill shifts our current priority from job creation to, the ease of doing business. While India may climb the World Bank’s list of countries with an ease of doing business with, it does so by the exploitation of the workforce. How? Let’s go through some features of this amendment:
    1) No need for the employer to provide a notification of termination to the worker. This stand’s true irrespective of the fixed term which may be a year, a week or could be even for the duration of a project.
    2) Workers have no right to any notice pay if the contract is terminated.
    3) Facilitating a fire and hire policy for the company, it overrides the current retrenchment requirements and allows free labor movement for the companies.
    4) Companies can hire workers according to seasonal trends and fire the extra workforce when the business is running lean ie, the workforce becomes a commodity expendable according to company needs.

    This, in turn, makes the employees powerless as the employers will start seeing them as an expendable commodity, which will turn into a reality due to the bonus powers vested in the 2018 amendment. With certain national media outlets praising this as an intelligent move by the Modi sarkar to tackle the job crisis, common sense points otherwise. When job security isn’t guaranteed, and workforce becomes expendable according to a company’s seasonal needs, Saying that it helps the youth in job creation seems kinda ironic, to say the least.

    The strike against this atrocity started at 12:00 am on Sunday and will last for 24 hours. Organisations like the CITU, INTUC, AITUC, STU, AHMS, UTUC, HMPK, KTUC, INLC, TUCI, AICTU, NLO and ITUC are leading the protest. Public service vehicles are not functioning today. The shop owners have stood in solidarity with the protest by closing their shops. Even the auto-taxi sector is restraining from all activity. The factory workers, the bank employees, the government employees and even the teachers have expressed their solidarity. Milk services, newspaper services, hospitals, marriage functions and airports have been exempted from the strike. Due to the strikes, the dates for the exams to be conducted tomorrow by the Kerala, Calicut, Kannur, MG universities have been changed. The modified dates will be available on the websites. PSC exam dates have not be affected.

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