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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Trade unions unappeased after meeting PM Narendra Modi in absence of any concrete assurance

By ET Bureau | 20 Jul, 2015, 02.30AM IST
NEW DELHI: There was no breakthrough during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's hour-long meeting with a dozen central trade unions on Sunday. This could make it difficult for the BJP-led government to get some key labour legislations passed in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament as trade unions are opposing reforms. "The PM just listened to us and did not say anything. There has been no assurance and we will continue with our plan to go for a nationwide strike in September," Gurudas Dasgupta of All India Trade Union Congress told the media.

These include amendment to the EPF & MP Act to give employees an option to park their savings with NPS, amendment to the Child Labour Act, introduction of the Small Factories Act and amendments to the Bonus Act. An inter-ministerial group had earlier in the day indicated that the government is on board with some of the key demands of trade unions, including social security for all and recognition of trade unions. However, it said differences still persist on key issues of contract labour and minimum wages.

"It was a positive discussion and the finance minister has taken cognisance of all issues raised," petroleum minister
Dharmendra Pradhan had said. Finance minister Arun Jaitley-led interministerial group — comprising labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, power minister Piyush Goyal and minister of finance Jayant Sinha — met central trade unions on Sunday in the afternoon after which Modi met the unions in the evening. "There are huge gaps on the issues of contract labour and minimum wages," said Dattatreya.

"Prime Minister's inaugural speech at the ILC will determine our future course of actions," said Pawan Kumar of Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, a BJP affiliate TU. Unions have condemned the government's move to codify all labour laws, saying it is an attempt to dilute existing laws.

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