Unrest at Maruti result of failure to enforce labour laws, says Kharge

Labour minister Mallikarjun Kharge said on Thursday that the failure to enforce labour laws resulted in the workers' unrest at Maruti Suzuki's Manesar unit.

While employers should not turn a "blind eye" towards the labour statutes, Kharge advised workers that they should "refrain from taking law into their hands".

"Enforcement of labour laws has to be followed strictly. Failure in this area has led to the recent flaring up of incidents like Maruti Suzuki, Regency Ceramics in Puducherry and Neyveli Lignite in Tamil Nadu," Kharge told a conference of state labour ministers.

Maruti officials declined to comment on the minister's statement.

In July, labour unrest turned violent and resulted in the killing of a senior official and injuring close to 100 at Maruti's Manesar plant. While India Inc deplored the incident, trade unions continue to demand that the 500 workers who were sacked be taken back.

Sensing the pulse of industrialists and labourers, Kharge said: "Respect for industrial democracy and aiming towards high industrial growth has to go hand in hand. A sound industrial climate lays down the foundation of the nation's economic growth and the workers' well-being."

Stagnation in industrial expansion and decline in exports not just slowed growth to a nine-year low in FY12, it also capped factory wages, sparked job cuts and increased labour unrest.

While admitting that the implementation of labour laws was "difficult" in the informal sector, which employs 94% of the country's work force, Kharge said legislations related to minimum wages, contract labour, industrial disputes and working conditions in factories affects the life of the working class in a very significant way and hence need to be strictly enforced.

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