MSMEs for changes in labour laws (Kerala)

The Kerala State Small Industries Association (KSSIA), representing over a lakh micro, small and medium-sized (MSME) industrial units in the State, has called for big changes in the labour environment and laws governing employment.

This is to enable, among other things, students to work part time, to create an environment of competition among labourers, and launch of a labour supply portal along with the conventional employment exchange.

Hourly wages

In an interactive session with the State Industries Department, KSSIA leaders raised the idea that labour laws could be changed to allow students to work on a part-time basis. Besides, the association said there was a situation in which labourers had to be paid for eight hours of work when they actually worked only for two hours. The wages should be fixed on an hourly basis to enable payment according to the quantum of work being carried out.

The association felt that job-oriented courses at higher levels would help solve the problem of shortage of hands in the State.

Launch of a labour supply portal along with the current employment exchange would help find a solution to the problem of labour shortage, the industry leaders said.

The association also felt that a guest work portal would help. All those who arrived in Kerala seeking work should be registered using their Aadhaar or voter’s identity cards.

Welfare measures

The association also felt that the present labour welfare set-up was not of much help to either to the labourers or to the owners. The government should rethink on the welfare fund and also the recent hike in contributions suggested by the government. The industry owners also said the lockdown period had resulted in untold hardship for the industries and payment of wages, which had been insisted on even for the lockdown period, was difficult. They said they had suggested that the minimum bonus payment might be done away with this season in view of the pandemic and subsequent loss of business.

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