A permanent worker can be removed from service only for proven misconduct or for habitual absence – due to ill health, alcoholism and the like, or on attaining retirement age. In other words the doctrine of ‘hire and fire’ is not approved within the existing legal framework. In cases of misconduct the worker is entitled to the protection of Standing Orders to be framed by a certifying officer of the labour department after hearing management and labour, through the trade union. Employers must follow principles of ‘natural justice’, which again is an area that is governed by judge-made law. An order of dismissal can be challenged in the labour court and if it is found to be flawed, the court has the power to order reinstatement with continuity of service, back wages, and consequential benefits. This again is identified as an area where greater flexibility is considered desirable for being competitive.Almost all pro-worker developments that accrued since independence are now identified as areas of rigidity and in the name of flexibility there is pressure on the government of India to repeal or amend all such laws. Interestingly, if such a proposal is fully implemented, labour law, especially for the organised sector, will go back to the colonial framework where state intervention was meant primarily to discipline labour, not to give it protection.
GlobalisationThe most distinctly visible change from globalisation is the increased tendency for offloading or subcontracting. Generally this is done through the use of cheaper forms of contract labour, where there is no unionisation, no welfare benefits, and quite often not even statutorily fixed minimum wages. Occasionally the tendency to bring contract labour to the mother plant itself is seen. This is very often preceded by downsizing, and since there is statutory regulation of job losses, the system of voluntary retirement with the ‘golden handshake’ is widely prevalent, both in public and private sectors.
Tags :Labour Service Law