In this New Indian Express article, Visiting Senior Fellow, Shankkar Aiyar writes on the failure of the labour laws in effectively enforcing employees rights. Excerpts:
"The Jet Airways saga is a tragic sequel of what happened when Kingfisher Airlines was grounded. Over 3,000 employees were left high and dry by the company. In a letter to the prime minister, the employees stated that the airline owed them salary, gratuity as also compensation, and sought his intervention. The employees, who were unable to access their PF (Provident Fund), thanks to the mess of litigation, were faced with notices of income tax unpaid by Vijay Mallya.
Earlier this month, around 100 workers at the ongoing Pune metro project, MahaMetro, went on strike over unpaid dues of five months. Often protesters get only part of the payment, an unsecure promise and face the risk of being issued pink slips. In far off Ethiopia, Indian employees of the shadow bank IL&FS, which went bust following shady deals, were held hostage by locals who had not been paid wages since November.
The bitter irony is that the narrative on labour reforms, in political and policy discourse, has been about the Industrial Disputes Act— about hiring and firing. And for decades now political parties have shied away from instituting reforms in labour laws under the guise of protecting workers’ interests. Fact is the landscape is littered with cases of abject failure of the laws, rules and regulations in protecting the rights of the employees. Employees with small and large enterprises are forced to fend for themselves amidst systemic failure in the absence of real-time redressal mechanisms."
Read the full article here.