ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

gested that the law should provide that an employer who wrongfully victimises a worker, resorts to illegal closure or lock-out or fails to pay the statutory minimum wages to workmen will have to pay double the wages due to them. If the government could not prevent the employer from committing these illegal acts in the first place, especially the non-payment of wages legally due which is so rampant in the employments covered by the Minimum Wages Act, it is difficult to see what means it will use to make him pay double the wages. Besides, the present laws including the ID Act, already provide penalties, even of imprisonment besides fines, against employers indulging in such illegal acts. The Authority under the Payment of Wages Acts is also empowered to impose both costs and fines on employers not paying wages legally due to employees. Yet, how many state governments have launched prosecutions against employers to get them convicted and sentenced for these offences? How many employers have been prosecuted for misappropriating the PF and ESI contributions deducted from the employees' wages? To go on adding to the penalties on paper and not invoking them in practice has been the established pattern of government handling of thesei matters. In this light what previous labour minister Anjiah suggested can only be viewed as an eyewash, He further proposed that unions resorting to illegal strikes should be derecognised. Even before the provision for recognition is clearly spelt out, government is already preoccupied with derecognition! And with all the proposed restrictions on strikes, which strike will be lawful and which union will escape derecognition unless it abandons its primary function of protecting and promoting the interests of its members? The whole attitude behind this thinking is that recognition is a favour to be conferred on a union and not its inherent, rightful due by virtue of the following it has among the workers concerned. So, the union has to be placed on perpetual probation to merit that favour. Management which violates labour laws brazenly, does not forfeit the right to manage; but the union, for an act branded as unlawful, must forfeit the right to represent the workers, a right which is really the essence of its being a trade union.

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