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Labour Scenario In India On International Labour Day 2018

The May day is dedicated to the labourers who fought for the right of having a human condition to work in - proper wage, sanitation, leave, bonus, insurance, etc. After 137 years of the revolution started in Chicago, and 95 years of India accepting it, let us see, how successful it has been in our country. Let us have a quick look at the condition of labours in India, and future scenario.

Beyond the holiday on May Day and special programmes glorifying the Labour’s day, let us have a quick tour from the origin to the present scenario of labour since the declaration of labours day.

How it started:
In the beginning of the 19th century, when the industrialization phase reached at its top, the industrialists exploited the labourers in an inhuman way. They were made to work for 15 hours a day or more with no sanitation, no leaves, no proper pay etc.
Slowly the labours started opposing such policy. On 1st May 1886, in a protest of the labours in Haymarket affair in Chicago, there was a strike demanding limitation of working hours to eight hours. Three days later, on 4th May, police tried to disperse a public assembly in support of the demand. Someone from the assembled persons threw a bomb, to which the police replied with firing which lead to death of many workers.
1st May got designated as labours day in honour to the incident. In India, the labour day was celebrated in 1923 for the first time in Chennai, organized by Labour Kisan Party.

Indian Scenario of Labours:
In a report published by International Labour Organisation on 16th November 2017, it was stated that though there has been economic growth over last three decades, Indian labours are being paid a considerably low wage - income of less than INR 198 as per another report in 2018. The wage inequality based on gender, region, social group still continuing.
In another report published by the same organization on 24th January 2018 exposed that the jobs which are created are of poor quality though the economic growth of India is pretty strong. The survey said that 77% of workers in India are going to have an unsecured employment by 2019.
India is one of the leading country having vulnerable employment, is apparent is have an increase in the unemployment rate between 15-24 years old to 10.7% in 2019 compared to 10.5% in 2017.
ILO economist reported that the high rate of unsecured employment in India is the result of structural transformation processes took place in the region.

The Labour Law in India:
There are a number of laws enacted in India to protect the interest of the labours:

Laws to regulate employer-employee relationship -

  • Trade Unions Act 1926
  • Industrial Employment Standing Order Act 1946
  • Industrial Disputes Act 1947

Laws regulating the rights to get proper payment:

  • Payment of Wages Act 1936
  • Minimum Wages Act 1948
  • Payment of Bonus Act 1965
  • The Working Journalists (Fixation of Rates of Wages) Act 1958

Laws regulating working hours, conditions of services and employment policies:

  • Factories Act 1948
  • Plantation Labour Act 1951
  • Mines Act 1952
  •  Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees’ (Conditions of Service and Misc. Provisions) Act 1955
  • Merchant Shipping Act 1958
  • Motor Transport Workers Act 1961
  • Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act 1966
  • Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act 1970
  • Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act 1946
  • Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of EMployment and COnditions of Service) Act 1979
  • Dock Workers (Safety, Health & Welfare) Act 1986
  • Building & Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Services) Act 1996
  • Building and other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act 1996
  • Cine-Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment) ACt 1981
  • Dangerous Machines (Regulation) Act 1983
  • Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) (Inapplicability to Major Ports) Act 1997
  • Workmen’s Compensation Act 1923
  • Employees’ State Insurance Act 1948
  • Payment of gratuity Act 1972
  • Employers’ liability Act 1938

Laws encouraging women to work:

  • Maternity Benefit Act 1961
  • Equal Remuneration Act 1976

Laws safeguarding from employees to take disadvantage:

  • Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976
  • Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act 1986

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Reviewed by:
Rashmita Das
Published on 01-May-18

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