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44 labour laws to be amalgamated into four labour codes: Minister


Kolkata: Citing the necessity to promote friendlier labour-industry relations, the central government is in the process of amalgamating 44 labour laws into four sets of labour codes, a union minister said here on Tuesday.

“In the labour law reforms, 44 laws will be combined into four distinctive labour codes – code on wages, code on industrial relations, a code on social security and a code on working conditions and safety,” union Minister of State for Labour Bandaru Dattatreya told media persons here on the sidelines of a CII-organised event.

He said a “more friendly” atmosphere between the industry and the labourers needs to be created and the reforms are targeted to this end.

“No rights of the workers are going to be taken away with the reforms,” he said.

As per the minister, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and Equal Remuneration Act of 1975 will be merged to create the wages code.

The government will also be revising the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 to increase it from Rs.160 per day.

“Now we want to enhance it (minimum wages) and it will become statutory. Every state has to implement it. We have already discussed it with state governments,” he said.

The wage increase is poised to happen in one to two months.

The government is also considering increasing the compensation to workers of locked-out plants. Presently, wages for a 15-day period are given to these workers which will be increased to 45 days wages.

“This payment will happen directly into the worker’s bank account through electronic mode and remove the need for any middlemen,” the minister said.

Besides, with the reforms, labourers will continue to enjoy the right to strike but a 14-day notice period has to be served before implementing the strike.

“Strike is a right of the workers,” he said.

Dattatreya said the prevalent laws were archaic dating back more than 50 years and hence need revision to keep up with the changes in the industrial scenario.


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Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago to organise Lecture on Human Slavery on August 27

Trinidad and Tobago is a dual-island Caribbean nation near Venezuela and is a blend of multicultural and multi-religious society

August Lecture Series i invite

Port of Spain, August 21, 2016: The Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago presents its August Lecture in collaboration with the National Museum and Art Gallery of Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday, August 27. The event will take place at the National Museum and Art Gallery, Frederick Street, Port of Spain at 6pm.

Trinidad and Tobago is a dual-island Caribbean nation near Venezuela and is a blend of multicultural and multi-religious society. The presence of Indian Diaspora there makes it more lively and continues to induce spiritual reconstruction among the people. If one visits the place, they will find a whole new scenario, but only a few know that this transformation has travelled decades.

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Port of Spain is the capital of Trinidad and Tobago and there is no denying that Carribean colonies were built on the backbone of slavery. In 1845, on May 30, a small sailing ship weighing 415 tonnes, the Fatel Rozack, was tied up at the lighthouse jetty in Port of Spain, Trinidad. After almost a 3 months and 6-days voyage from Kolkata (then Calcutta), around the southern tip of Africa and across the southern Atlantic, it came to Trinidad.

Newly arrived Indian labourers in Trinidad. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Newly arrived Indian labourers in Trinidad. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

As History says, this was no ordinary ship. With it, she brought 217 Indians who were given the false idea that they were heading for a better life and will work on the sugar estates of Trinidad. While five died on the voyage, most of them were women and under 30s. To the surprise, only five of them were men. On reaching the Port of Spain, Gazette reported, “the general appearance of the people is healthy”.

This was just the beginning! Soon over, 143,939 Indian labourers were shipped to Trinidad in the next 72 years. The majority of the labourers, that is 240,000 were sent to Guyana (then British Guiana), 36,000 to Jamaica, and smaller numbers to St Vincent, Grenada, St Lucia and Martinique.

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Indian Labourers came from several areas the country, such as- Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal  (through the port of Calcutta) and Oudh. Not just that, in the early years it came through Chennai (then Chennai) as well. The labourers, most of them belonged to Hindu faith and only a few of them were Muslims.

The details mentioned here are just mere glimpses of their lives, the documentary holds in it much more. One has to watch it, to get closer to the lives of these Indian labourers, share their struggle and unsaid pain. One journey that doomed their lives forever! Their experiences were akin to slavery.