Centre for Labour Studies is a 'Research Centre' as part of the Academic Programmes of the National Law School of India University. CLS functions as a component of Centre for Child and the Law and shares physical space with the CCL.
CCLs experience indicates that NLSIU can play an interventionist role in influencing legislative change. This view coupled with the experience and expertise on labour issues, of Prof. Babu Mathew, Faculty Coordinator CCL, (currently on sabbatical), prompted the initiation of the Centre for Labour Studies with support from HIVOS. The programme hopes to draw students and faculty from NLSIU into a process of beneficial, field-based interactions with the labour movement in our country and by playing a proactive role with working class organizations help sustain a liberal and plural ideological position for NLSIU.
Vision and Mission:
Mission of CLS is to assist workers in the process of:
- Administration of labour laws;
- Quasi judicial and
In order to ensure dignity and fair conditions of labour at work in the adverse situation of the globalisation process.
Activities and Achievements:
A Publication on Labour, Constitution and the Supreme Court
Social Justice and Labour Jurisprudence: Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer's Contribution: The Centre for Labour Studies carried out a major research work pertaining to labour judgments delivered by the Supreme Court under the title 'Social Justice and Labour Jurisprudence: Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer's Contribution'. One of the leading publishers in India, Sage Publishers, have verified the manuscript and agreed to publish the same. Justice Krishna Iyer himself has written a Forward to the Volume.
The Volume deals with topics like, Historical Examination of Industrial Jurisprudence in India derived from the Constitutional principles, threshold components under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, Collective Bargaining Agreement issues, Maharashtra (Recognition of Trade Unions and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices) Act, 1972, Governments' Power to refer to Industrial Disputes, the Concept of Industrial Adjudication, the Concept of Voluntary Arbitration as Dispute Settlement Mechanism, Issues arising from the Industrial employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, Restrictions on the freedom of the employer to effect changes of service conditions, disciplinary proceedings, lay off and retrenchment, the rights of workers under contractors, wages and monitory benefit to workers and social security and welfare of workers.
Report on Contract Labour System
During 2004-05 the Centre for Labour Studies was entrusted with the task of submitting a report on Contract Labour System in Karnataka by the Labour Department, Government of Karnataka. Accordingly the Center submitted a major report on this subject consisting empirical as well as doctrinal research with sound recommendations.
Why the Study?
In the context of the tirade or proposals from the employers to amend labour laws, in particular, the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970. The Labour Commissioner of Karnataka suggested study of Contract Labour System before bringing in changes in the law. This was agreed by the employers. Subsequently, the study was entrusted to the Centre for Labour Studies, NLSIU.
Three components of the Study
- Analysis of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970
- Analysis of case laws and field study on the non-compliance of provisions of the CLRA Act, 1970
- Analysis of Practice of Contract Labour System in selected industries and selected localities
The report was submitted in November 2004 which was accepted in February 2005 by Ministry of Labour, Government of Karnataka, Bangalore. The report submitted to the Government was highly appreciated by the Ministry and the Department, various Trade Union, organisations within State and outside.
1. Lobbying for protective legislation, ensuring a measure of social security and welfare for increasing number of unorganised sector workers in the country
2. Creating access to freedom of association and collective bargaining opportunities for workers in:
(1) Garment industry;
(3) Other categories of Unorganised Sector Workers;
(4) And workers employed in selected Public Sector Undertakings.
3. Associating with national level organisations working for the cause of above mentioned categories of workers in process of lobbying for drafting of legislations and policies.
4. Research and publication of the areas relating to:
(1) Collective Bargaining;
(2) Industrial Relations;
(4) Social Security and Welfare
In order to demonstrate the changing perceptions of labour law policy under different regimes of political economy with reference to emerging judicial trend.
- Conducting filed research in pilot model with respect to specific areas relating to the said categories of workers in the state with a view to ascertain the issues that need to be addressed in the context.
- A study and clear understanding of the existing labour legislations and the law that deal with various categories of unorganised sector workers and to address the inadequacies to meet the needs.
- Commenting and putting forth the suggestions on the bills pertaining to unorganised sector workers that are put forth by Government from time to time
- Collaborating with national level organisations for the cause of unorganised sector workers in framing the Model Legislations, addressing the policy issues and circulating the statements for the purpose of lobbying.
- Conducting local meetings and participating in Consultations, Workshops that address the mission of the centre
- Conducting periodical Training Programmes, Consultations and Workshops that address the specific issues of mentioned categories of unorganised sector workers.
- Study of the emerged Labour Jurisprudence and its changing perceptions in the context in respect of related areas.
The areas of focus of Labour Studies include:
- Labour Law Legislation and Legislative changes
- Restructuring of Capital - Labour relations and its impact on workers rights
- Intervention in the Collective Bargaining process
- Activist Education and Training
- Campaign for Minimum Wages Awareness
- Elimination of Labour Exploitation Tactics
- Contract Labour
Training of the Trade Unions Leaders has been an integral component of the Centers activity. Since its inception CLS has organized many Training Programmes to build the capacity of the workers', leaders thereby equipping them with the skills to demand for their due rights.
The Centre organized a 'One Day Roundtable on Law, Poverty and Marginalisation; Reflections on the Life and Working Conditions of the Pourkarmikas in Bangalore' held at International Training Centre, NLSIU, Bangalore on 2nd June 2002.
The Centre conducted a 'Two Days State Level Training Program for the Union Leaders, and the Persons employed as Contract Labour in Karnataka on various aspects of Contract Labour System' held at International Training Centre, NLSIU, Bangalore on 19th and 20th January, 2005.
The objective of this Training Programme was to empower the contract workers to make use of the provisions of the Contract Labour (Abolition and Regulation) Act, 1970.
It was a State Level Programme. Around 45 contract workers and Union Leaders representing KPTCL, HAL, BHEL, Bangalore Universities and many private enterprises participated in the Training Programme. The candidates were identified based on the contacts established during the field survey for the study on contract labour.
The Training Programme had positive effect on the workers as they were empowered to demand for their rights. For example, around 3000 contract workers in KPTCL organized struggle for their rights. Consequently, the KPTCL contract workers received an increase in minimum wages, employment identification cards and wage slips.
The objective of the exercise was to empower women workers equipping them with the requisite information to defend their employment, how to engage in collective bargaining and how to organize themselves into autonomous organisations.
While giving training to women workers, CLS follows a gender neutral class approach. The Constitutional principle of equality and non-discrimination on grounds of sex plays a fundamental role in the development of national anti-discrimination legislation. The Centre for Labour Studies is well placed to explore gender dimensions at work by examining the status of implementation of legislative provisions, workplace policies and case laws. It is important to address issues of equal participation and representation, social welfare and social security rights as well as problems arising out of gender roles and stereotypes at workplace, especially in the context of deregulation, reduced protection and increased flexibility under globalization.
The Centre organized a 'Two Days State Level Workshop to discuss on Pourakarmikas to evolve the Strategies to ensure Human Dignity', held at International Training Centre, NLSIU, Bangalore, on 30th and 31st May, 2005
The Pourakarmikas employed on Contract basis in Municipal Corporations in the State are the worst exploited section of the Unorganised Sector Working Class in terms of working conditions, wages and social security. The object to conduct this workshop was to evolve the strategies to ensure Human Dignity and to mitigate the chances of their exploitation.
Consequent to the lobbying done by the CLS, besides others, Government of Karnataka imposed a cess on house tax for creating a Welfare Fund for Pourakarmikas.
The Centre organized a 'Two Days Training Programme for Women Garment Workers in Bangalore City on aspects relating to Regulation of Employment, Wages, Conditions of Services and Social Security', held at International Training Centre, NLSIU, Bangalore on June 4th and 5th, 2005.
The objective of the Training Programme was to provide information to Garment Workers and their organisations about the benefits to which they are entitled under various laws. The Training was also held in the context of reported instances where workers were subjected to threat of dismissal, denial of social security benefits, non-remittances of Provident Fund deduction and non-payments of minimum wages and overtime benefits.
All the aforementioned issues were identified on the basis of occasional local meetings with workers from priority sectors and were addressed during the Training Programme.
The Centre Participated as a Resource Person in the Training Programme and presented a paper on “Role of the Conciliation Officers in Strikes, Lockouts, Layoff, Retrenchment and Closure” the paper was offered based on the knowledge the Centre has acquired from statutes, analysis of case laws, field studies and the experience gained from the interactions with labour officers. The outcome of the exercise in the Training Programme was the realization for the need for the manual for the Conciliation Officers and in pursuance of this need the CLS took initiative and prepared “The Manual for Labour Officers in Karnataka”.
The Centre in Collaboration with CECI India, New Delhi organized a Workshop on “The Status of the New Generation Co-operatives', held at International Training Centre, NLSIU, Bangalore on 6-9-2005 with a view to highlight the Parallel Legislation as an alternative legal frame work in co-operative movement.
The Centre in collaboration with National Centre for Labour and Social Security Association of India, New Delhi has conducted a joint 'Two Days Consultative Workshop to discuss the emerged Draft Bill in the Government Circle pertaining to the Unorganised Sector Workers providing for Regulation of Employment, Welfare and Social Security' on 23rd and 24th September, 2005 at New Delhi. The Centre was part in creating the wider deliberations consisting of the stake holders in bringing pressure on the Central Government in bringing a Comprehensive legislation for the Unorganised Sector Workers in the Country providing a measure of regulation of employment, welfare and Social Security.
The Centre organized a 'Two Days Consultative Workshop on Unorganised Sector Workers Issues', held at International Training Centre, NLSIU, Bangalore on 17th and 18th February, 2006. The Centre was able to create awareness among the Unorganised sector work force about the initations at the Central level regarding the proposed legal regime providing a measure of social security and the inadequacies in this context. The strategies to mitigate the problems of Safai Karmacharis and the steps to ensure the benefits under National Safai Karmacharis Finance and Development Corporation.
Note: The Reading Materials of all the above Training Programme, Consultations and Workshops are available at the Centre for Labour Studies, NLSIU, Bangalore.
Research on Regulation of Employment and Social Security for Unorganised Sector workers in India
The research was intended to emphasize the aspect of 'Regulation of Employment' in the regime of Comprehensive Legislation for Workers in Unorganised Sector; an issue caught the serious attention of the public following the recommendation of the Second National Commission on Labour to that effect. This particular argument was put forward in the context of SEWA proposing 'social security only' legislation by arguing that 'regulation is not material'.
The research was in anticipation of a major follow up work in drafting, in collaboration with the National Centre for Labour (NCL), a 'Comprehensive Legislation for Workers in the Unorganised Sector' (inclusive of the component of regulation of employment), and nation wide lobbying for its adoption.
Five Basic Needs of workers:
The Research has identified five basic needs of workers namely;
- Right to form trade union
- Regulation of employment
- Minimum Wages
- Social Security
- Social Welfare inclusive of health, education and housing.
The initiative by the Centre for Labour Studies to conduct a research on the aspect of 'regulation of employment' was timely and useful. It is also important to note that the study was not an end in itself, but contributed to the formulation of the 'Comprehensive Legislation for Workers in the Unorganised Sector' in collaboration with NCL, the national coordinating body of various unorganised sector trade unions. click here for the document.
The Case of KPTCL Contract Workers
The Centre considers this as a test case in which the Centre has been intensely involved in helping the 156 member workmen of KPTCL Contract Workers Union in a Quasi-Judicial Forum. The CLS has been actively involved in framing the case and assisting workers in presenting and arguing for their case for Conciliation and Industrial Adjudication. The CLS was involved in preparing detailed petition in favor of the workers.
The CLS argues in their petition that the case is clearly one of 'sham contract' for a job of perennial and permanent nature, based on which, the illegally dismissed workers could raise an industrial dispute for declaring that they were always employees of the principal employer, under provisions of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 and I.D. Act, 1947. They also argued that the matter should be immediately admitted in conciliation.
The KPTCL contract workers case shows an intense activist phase of the Centre for Labour Studies. The whole team is politically, intellectually and emotionally involved in the case. Such intensity of involvement has borne fruits. It has empowered the contract workers of KPTCL; and the CLS has effectively argued a case in the interest of the workers, which was considered to be lost. The petition is a good example of elaboration of a case of contract worker.
The Details of the claim statement, evidence on affidavit:
Important Assignments from National Level Trade Union Organizations:
- In the light of the emergence of three draft Bills on Unorganised sector workers namely:
a. Unorganised Sector Workers Bill 2004 (A Draft of Ministry of Labour, Government of India).
b. Unorganised Sector Workers Social Security Bill 2005 (A Draft of National Commission on Enterprises in Unorganised Sector).
c. Unorganised Sector Workers Social Security Bill 2005 (A Draft of National Advisory Council of U.P.A Government).
The National Centre for Labour in collaboration with Centre for Labour Studies and Social Security Association of India organized a consultative workshop to study the Comparative Analysis of these Bills. (Click here for the Document) The Centre for Labour Studies played a major part in presenting comparative analysis of these Bills to pursue further course of action in Government circle in October 2005 and has prepared a draft of comparative analysis and the content of the Draft Bill. The Centre along with National Trade Union organisations working with the unorganised sector workers, presented the Draft Bill to the Union Labour Minister, New Delhi. (March 2005).
The Centre for Labour Studies has also been able to come out with quality publications on the subjects.
- Social Justice and Labour Jurisprudence: Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer's Contribution
By Sharath Babu and Rashmi Shetty
This comprehensive book outlines contribution to the growth of labour jurisprudence in India and provides a clear understanding of the content of these principal judgements.
India's apex court has always had pro-socialist and philosophically oriented judges, the most prominent of them being Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer. His contributions to labour jurisprudence are legendary. This book contains an analysis and critique of the most important judgements delivered by Justice Iyer. They are arranged contextually in accordance with the subject and within the framework of prevailing industrial laws. The authors have clarified key aspects of industrial relations in India and provided a clear understanding of the linkage between labour issues and the philosophy of the Constitution as perceived by Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer.
The book is an invaluable source to students of law, legal researchers, academics, trade union organizations and members of the bar and judicial fraternity.
Sharath Babu and Rashmi Shetty, Social Justice and Labour Jurisprudence: Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer's Contribution(New Delhi, Sage Publications, 2006), pp. 660, Rs. 1950
1. Mr. Sachin Biraj
2. Mr. Praveen Chandur
3. Mrs. Pushpa N. Administrative Incharge