Industries cannot be forced to pay wages: panel 

#GS2 #Governance  

MPs’ committee sees COVID-19 lockdown as natural calamity, says units not responsible for lay-off must not be affected  

  • In case of natural calamities, payment of wages to the workers until the re-establishment of the industry may be unjustifiable.  
  • The Industrial Code makes it incumbent upon the employer to pay 50% wages to the workers/employees who are laid off due to a shortage of power, coal, raw material and such instances for 45 days.  
  • The committee has, however, expressed reservation on payment of the prescribed percentage of wages to the workers in the event of closure of an establishment due to “natural calamity”.  
  • In case of natural calamities like earthquake, flood, super cyclone etc. which often result in closure of establishments for a considerably longer period without the employer’s fault, payment of wages to the workers until the re-establishment of the industry may be unjustifiable.  

 ‘A helping hand’ 

  • The basic idea about our recommendations is that the industry should also not be forced when the situation is beyond their control.   
  • The law has to be reasonable. It is for the government to step in and extend a helping hand for the industries.   

Dissent note 

  • Given the present situation where the entire nation is fighting against monstrous attack of novel coronavirus and when every ordinary citizen has been shouldering the risk beyond his/her capacity.  
  • The Industrial Relations Code, 2019 is an amalgamation of three laws — the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.  
  • The law was introduced in the Lok Sabha in November in the year 2019 and referred to the Standing Committee on Labour in December.  
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