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PM for consensus on right to strike
BS Economy Bureau in New Delhi | October 17, 2003 11:50 IST
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday called for a consensus on the issue of government employees having the right to strike.
The Supreme Courts had ruled in August that government employees had no fundamental, legal, moral or equitable rights to go on strikes.
Vajpayee was reacting to the observations of Indian National Trade Union Congress president Sanjeeva Reddy and Leftist trade union leader Gurudas Dasgupta, at the inaugural session of the 39th Indian Labour Conference.
Both Reddy and Dasgupta had raised the issue of the dismissal of 6,000 government employees in Tamil Nadu as a result of the Supreme Court ruling.
"The apex court's judgment has not been liked by you and perhaps I also do not like it," Vajpayee said, adding, "Everybody should sit together and find a way out. But, we will not be able to go along with those who want to shut the door on a consensus."
Labour Minister Sahib Singh Verma intervened to say that if there was any injustice done to government employees they had every right to voice their protest. Verma favoured a grievance redressal mechanism to address their problems.
The labour minister said had the Tamil Nadu employees met the Prime Minister before proceeding on their strike, the present situation could have been averted.
Delivering his inaugural address, Vajpayee emphasised the need for faster labour reforms.
He also urged workers' organisations to make the unorganised segments of the workforce a major focus of their activity.
The existing labour laws are only for those employed in the organised sector, which is a very small part of the total labour force.
"Suitable changes will have to be made in the legal framework to enable the unorganised sector to serve as an instrument for speedy employment generation," he said, adding that an umbrella legislation to provide labour protection, medical care and old age pension and insurance cover to the unorganised sector workers was on the anvil.
Vajpayee also called on the people to change their belief that private enterprises only aim at maximising the wealth of the employers.