New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has told Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh that labour reforms are "not essential" for industrial growth and changes in these laws would be made only after taking unions on board, the RSS affiliated body said Thursday.
"Jaitley conveyed to a delegation of BMS on the eve of the government completing two years in power (yesterday) that government has realised that labour reforms are not essential for industrial growth in the country," it said in a statement.
The statement assumes significance in view of the calls for extensive labour reforms to improve ease of doing business by doing away with the archaic laws.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also said in an interview to the Wall Street Journal that "labour reforms should not just mean (being) in the interest of industry" and they should also be in the interest of the labourer.
BMS delegation yesterday met Jaitley and other members of the ministerial panel on labour issues. Incidentally, the panel has not met the trade union after September 2 strike last year to deliberate on their 12 points charter of demands.
When contacted BMS General Secretary Virjesh Upadhyay told PTI: "We were meeting the Group of Ministers headed by Jaitley for a follow up of the 12 point charter of demands on labour issues raised by unions last year.
"He made the comment during a discussion on the labour law reforms, which is an issue in the charter of demands."
Besides Jaitley, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh and Labour Secretary Shankar Agarwal were also present.
Power Minister Piyush Goyal was not present at the meeting.
The trade union delegation included General Secretary Virjesh Upadhyay, Former President Saji Narayanan CK, Zonal Organising Secretary Pawan Kumar and Deputy Finance Secretary Jagdish Joshi, the statement said.
"Jaitley said government will pursue any amendment on labour laws only after bringing unanimity among trade unions, employers? organisations and states. He also agreed that minimum wage has to be given a serious thought, considering the differences in consumer price in major cities and towns."
As per BMS, Jaitley has asked the Labour Minister to prepare a formula to work out minimum wage and extend social security to scheme workers.
Labour Minister was also asked by Jaitley to look into issue of contract workers to make their service condition at par with regular workmen.
"The Finance Minister said the government will instruct all states and central departments, to strictly implement the decision on enhancement of ceiling of Bonus," it said.
BMS insisted that the government has a relook at the economic policies to ensure better job creation and to strengthen state-owned companies which are the best model of decent wage to make economy run.
The Group of Minsters also assured the BMS delegation that assurances given on August 27, 2015 on 12 point Charter of Demands of the Joint Trade Unions will be implemented with priority in the coming few weeks.