With Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing that the three contentious farm laws would be repealed, the focus has now shifted to the government’s other major reform agenda – the revamp of labour laws passed by Parliament in 2019 and 2020 that have yet to come into effect and now faced with the possibility of intensified protests.
On November 11, 10 central trade unions said they had planned demonstrations on November 26 seeking repeal of both the farm laws and labour codes, terming them as ‘anti-people’ and brought in without due consultations.
Following Modi’s announcement, farmers’ and workers’ unions have declared that they would continue to protest seeking a repeal of the four labour laws as well.
The Centre itself is seen to be dithering on the notification of the rules to the four labour codes. Those in the know say that the call is more political than executive.
Having burnt its fingers with the farm laws, threats of more protests amid upcoming crucial assembly elections may force the government to put the much-awaited labour reforms on the backburner.
More so, as the Centre wants to implement the four labour codes at one go across the country.
Since labour law is a subject under the Concurrent List, the implementation of the four labour codes requires that rules for the same are notified both by the Centre as well as states.
The Centre has pushed its own targets of June and October further and is now faced with a significant electoral deterrent in the form of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
Sources in the labour ministry maintained that work was on to publish the labour codes in most states but were non-committal on when the Centre would do so.
ET gathers that no immediate timeline has been finalised for the same.
Most BJP-ruled states have published the rules but only 10 states have done so for all four codes. Opposition-ruled West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and most North-eastern states have yet to publish rules to any of the codes.