After the state assembly elections, the UPA II government has started quick action to reform the labour laws in the country. It is reported that about 43 central labour laws are going to be examined and amended or modified. The industry captains have been continuously pressurising the government to modify labour laws to suit their requirements in the neo-liberalisation area. They are not satisfied with the government instructions banning trade union functioning in the Special Economic Zones. They want the trade union rights to be curbed every where. They want the right for hire and fire also. In short, the industry wants to take away even the minimum rights that have been won by the workers through sustained struggles. Another demand of the industrialists are to increase the working hours to 12 hours.
The Government has appointed a Working Group headed by Shri Prabhat Chaturvedi, Labour Secretary, to examine and repeal the laws which are not necessary and which are to be modified etc. in the new situation of neo-liberalisation. A few trade union representatives are also included. But it is well known from the past experience that the voices of the TU leaders were never favourably considered by such committees.
The Central Trade Unions are fully aware of the situation. One of the main demands of the Central Trade Unions in their joint agitations is that the anti-worker policy of the government should be changed.