RSS affiliate urges Union labour ministry to revise draft social security code
BMS termed the draft Social Security Code as disappointing for workers. The workers’ union criticized the central government for its “casual approach" in labour reforms.
NEW DELHI : The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the trade union affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), on Monday rejected the draft social security code, terming it as disappointing for workers. BMS wrote to the Union labour ministry asking it to revise the draft so that it benefits employees and not employers.
“The latest draft Social Security Code, 2019, is totally disappointing for the workers in the country…the new draft is a weak cut and paste of the existing eight social security laws with different threshold limits for different benefits. This is contrary to the objectives of codification,” BMS said.
This assumes significance as BMS is the largest trade union in the country and considered to offer grassroots support to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose ideological parent is the RSS.
BMS said the draft code is up for public discussion for over three weeks now. “Unlike the Wage Code, it is not universal…It creates a class division of privileged employees, ‘workers’ and unfortunate ‘wage workers’ with different sets of benefits,” it wrote to the labour ministry.
The workers’ union criticized the central government for its “casual approach” in labour reforms. “The government should understand that it is changing social security laws such as ESI and EPF, which have been shaped by none other than a great visionary like Dr Ambedkar. It should not miss the historical role in shaping the destiny of the nation by its casual approach,” BMS said in its letter signed by its president C.K. Saji Narayanan.
The first draft contained highly beneficial provisions, such as providing right to social security for all, a central apex council headed by the prime minister, creation of a social security cadre, and providing a separate fund for gratuity, the trade union said. These benefits were missing in the present draft, it said.
“BMS demanded that the eligibility for gratuity should be reduced from 5 years to 1 year in view of up to 80% of workers engaged in many organized sector units being contract labour. The intention of the whole exercise gets tainted in the change from (sic) Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) to National Pension System,” the central workers union said.
BMS also batted against any attempt to dilute the Employees Provident Fund Organisation and EPS. “Most of the powers under the code are arbitrarily retained for executive decisions, including power to exempt the law to establishments, or arbitrarily reducing the rate of contribution to the social security funds…Flaws in the existing social security laws raised by trade unions are not at all taken care of in the code,” it wrote to the ministry.