Kolkata: The West Bengal government is
mulling amendment of labour laws to prevent strikes on
"trivial issues", while also checking unfair labour practises.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had recently sought an end
to the `bandh culture` in the state in the interest of
"The West Bengal government, through a new labour policy,
will help labourers understand the advantage of having a
discussion to solve industrial disputes instead of calling a
strike on trivial issues," Labour Minister Purnendu Bose said.
"Militant trade unionism led to the closure of many
industries in the erstwhile Left Front regime," Bose, a former
Naxalite leader who joined the Trinamool Congress after taking
part in Singur movement, said.
"Irresponsible trade unionism will not be tolerated.
Right to strike is the last resort, but cannot be be misused,"
"If a factory closes down, the workers are affected the
most. The new government believes in negotiations to keep
factory gates open," Bose, who is also a trade union leader
He pointed out that strike ballot was essential before an
industrial action, which was not followed.
"In a number of cases, strike ballot rules are not
followed before going on strike. This cannot continue," he
Noting that there were 20 to 22 labour laws and the
entire labour rules needed to be reviewed, Bose said, "We have
already studied the labour policies of Maharashtra and Haryana
and this will help us formulate the new labour policy."
Speaking against unfair labour practises, he said there
were instances when managements did not attend negotiations.
"Laws should be amended to force the management to attend
tripartite meetings to be convened by the government. We will
take up with the Centre the need to make necessary amendments
in the Industrial Disputes Act for the purpose," he said.
Stressing that loopholes have to be plugged, he said
sometimes the managements declare suspension of work instead
of lock-out. "Fourteen days notice is required in respect of
declaring a lock-out," he said.
On the IT sector, the minister said though formally it
was covered by labour laws, they were violated.
He said that employees in the sector worked for 12 hours
a day without getting overtime payment.
"There is need to increase the recess time for the
employees as also to look into the job allotment and job
pattern," he said.
Observing that shifts sometimes tended to stretch to 18
hours, he asked, "Why should there not be three shifts in a
day instead of two shifts?"
Bose said that in many call centres and BPO
establishments, employees were compelled to work only in
"I am in discussion with the minister for industry and
IT Partha Chatterjee to formulate working norms to make the
working condition humane for employees," he said.