Centre notifies draft rules for Industrial Relations Code, aims for April 2021 implementation

NEW DELHI: The labour ministry has notified draft rules for the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, paving way for greater flexibility to employers to retrench workers while making it mandatory for unions to give prior notice before a strike. The government aims to implement the four labour codes from April 1, 2021.

The ministry has sought comments from stakeholders within 30 days after which the rules will be finalised. Parliament had recently approved three labour codes. These include the IR Code, the Code on Social Security and the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions.

The Industrial Relation (Central) Rules, 2020 would supersede the Industrial Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 1949, the Industrial Tribunal (Central Procedure) Rules, 1954, the Industrial Disputes (Central) Rules, 1957 and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Central Rules,1946, it said in the gazette notification.

As per the rules, the establishments with 300 or more workers need to seek government approval for lay-offs 15 days prior to the intended action. The earlier limit was 100 employees, which means more businesses will have this freedom. The Rules provides a legal framework for fixed-term employment and ease of firing of contract workers.

Moreover, for retrenchment and closure the establishments would have to seek permission 60 daya and 90 days in advance respectively. Besides, permission as well as notices for strike could be submitted electronically.

The Code restricts the ability of workers to go on strike once the process of conciliation starts, irrespective of the time taken to arrive at a decision. Further, the Code also prescribed subscription charges for trade unions as well as tweaked the norms for registration of the unions, making it difficult for the union to go for collective bargaining.

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The Code has tweaked the definition of industry taking out eminent institutes related to defence and security like ISRO and DRDO out of its purview, thus prohibiting its employees the right to strike or raise any dispute.



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