Article on Nazaria -30
Conventional LABOUR is not limited to Foundries but playing major role in all Service Sectors soliciting state Concern for restructuring Policies?
The Mechanism for higher business PROFITS by avoiding implications for E.P.F./Bonus or other benefits to a worker by using Politics end up marginalizing British modeled Labour Wage Act. The application now is not limited to the tangible productions in factories but has achieved great relevance in services sector. It is desirable that genuine evaluations on actual JOB CONTENTS are considered for adequate WAGES, based on Scientific Engineering knowledge for the hired work force, benefiting all. The state department of Labour & Employment notify twice in a year, the wage value for different categories of workers, hired in the state. The office of L.C. technically continues doing a ritual job for most of the listed categories on record since many decades with a few exceptions for incorporation of a few new job titles.
The orders issued in this respect are primarily meant to regulate basic minimum wage revised in context of the Price Index. Most of the 71 categories were practically used in factories, Industries or related to agriculture field. The unskilled has Laborer /matriculate peon/ guide in one category. The Semi skilled has grouped diploma holder with that of sweeper holding experience two years for machine cleaning. Skilled has three year diploma holder with computer operator/ white wash/painter /accountant in one category. Highly skilled also contain Graduate clerk grouped with House Surgeon/Radiographer /plumber/sweeping machine operator in one category. The scope for application of the concept for daily wages has been utilized by state Government departments ,boards, corporations in the background of emergencies & partially due to financial constrains encountered in last couple of years. The Idea on hiring through outsource agency may not be taken as that bad unless, updated in terms of value & payments for reasonable monthly wages for professional hiring. The state may be doing its best to manage certain necessary Public services at affordable cost to speed up functioning. But they got scope to make it more attractive and acceptable to the larger employable cadres, by creating a new step in between unemployed youth to regular job to youth in most of the areas of profession.
The times were different when Daily Wager concept basically used for Industry or factories in private sector for production of goods. The business operators have their own view to limit labour cost element to minimum possible levels. The state machinery work out acceptable bench mark for payments on hiring labour force. The direct interest of the state appears to have been overlooked by not taking pro active initiative for reforms on this subject .The analysis appended below may help to improve satisfaction for hiring of skills, corresponding to their Education, knowledge & work experience. The present status is for hiring either by state in regular pay scales or rates notified by office of Commissioner labour department with wage varying between Rs. 10,000/- being a daily wager & Rs. 40,000/- or above being regular employee.
A leading news paper printed from Chandigarh on 7th Feb 2014 reported that teaching segment and many other technical in nature are forced to draw wages to the category of labour or semi skilled categories, thus resulting for injustice. The state may not be directly at fault but the system operators may have to own responsibility, who are reported to be entertaining only ritual job duties without innovations. They need to undertake experimentations for alternative options with the state to increase employability numbers within available financial budgets along with minimizing adhocism on hiring on D.W. without reasonable loyalty to the state apparatus.
The Punjab Govt. has displayed list for 71 categories covering labour /worker categories for most of the trades in Industry for regulating wage norms. Example that, Employment in Private Education Institutions, Employment in Local Authority, Employment in Private Hospitals, Clinics, Dispensaries, Nursing Homes and Medical Shops ,Employment in Government Offices or Boards or Corporations or Semi, Government Undertakings and Other Organization or Establishments has been mentioned. But the office of L.C. do not have practice inviting formal written inputs for respective JOB PROFILES involving quantum of technical education /training associated while review for appropriate wage fixations .
The state as a matter of fact is now turning out to be largest employer for adhoc manpower services than private industries. The application for recent notification refers that the rates were earlier fixed by the respective Deputy Commissioners but not by the Appropriate Government under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, hence office of L.C. will be main authority developing appropriate wage parameters. Innovative corrections corresponding to requirements of the times removing weakness for the notifications of the state relating to minimum wages issued by Labour & Employment department of the state may be a good idea for political bosses for higher employable force.
A) The circular No ST/18734 dated 16/09/13 notified on behalf of L.C. has notified two tables for wages .Table No 1 has four categories from 1 to 4 for Unskilled, (nD-f;fyns) Semi Skilled, (noX-f;fyns) Skilled (f;fyns) & highly skilled (T[u f;fyns) for wages Rs. 6247/-, 7027/-, 7924/-, 8956/- respectively. The other block under categories labeled Staff category D, C, B & A suggest wages for Rs.7047/-,8247/-,9747/-& 11,417/- respectively. What block of wages are to be made applicable by state Government or its bodies is left open. The wages are primarily meant for 6 days working in both categories though not mentioned. The value for those working only 5 days in offices has not been taken in account, thus getting paid wages for two months extra in a year.
B) The wage drawn by a peon/guard/sweeper hired in Chandigarh territories cost the state for above Gross amount of Rs. 11,500/- a month for working of 5 days a week. Similar wage is being paid to certain highly educated categories in the state and they are now protesting.
C) The conditions relating to knowledge for state language Punjabi & being resident of Punjab for a last period of 5-10 years if preferred may be useful for higher employment to local residents.
D) A formation of state & district level standing selection committees under overall Administration of State Service Selection Board may be found relevant. The committees in co ordination of Labour department may bring in formal Job profiles on record for suitable wage value on fix wages keeping in mind future absorption of the hired worker /official.
The Office of L.C. carry out revisions on the basis of categories of table made as on date. Many a cadre is referred in the classification of employees as A/B or C. These are also without corresponding input value to respective job profiles on specific technical qualifications/experience/knowledge, job hazards ,working environment ,days for working ,location value or comparative values; when posted in rural area or in cities or to best locations like Chandigarh or Mohali regions with better or less wage/facilities.
The state has an opportunity to reconstruct employment opportunity in benefit to larger segment; partially through the concept for respectable Fix wages in substitution to practice of Daily wages where ever work position is in regularity or in continuity. The circumstances for hiring on Daily wages originally were when specific work is for a few days or for a limited time & not against regular or continues work conditions. Now the hiring through outsource contractor has developed in a necessity. The direct responsibility for reconstruction for the rules may lie with office of L.C. His office may redraft suitable amendments in LABOUR ACT, enabling hiring on fix wages for a period of 4 to 7 years prior to their regular induction in respective pay scale/grades.
Example, the wage in the beginning for a job could be 30% of minimum for regular job & increased regularly during the intervening periods till formal inductions by the end of 5 to 7 years job experience with the state. The post of a clerk on regular hiring cost state to about Rs. 30,000/- a month. The daily wage now in this category cost Rs. 11,500/- .The proposed induction plan may be on fix wages for Rs. 10,000/- & raised after two years to Rs. 15,000/- & next block of three years to Rs. 25,000/- & than considered in placement in regular pay scale after service of 5-7 years for salary of Rs. 30,000/- to 35,000/- a month. Hence a policy similar to corporate culture for hiring executives, initially on adhoc & than encouraging best energies outputs from them with motivation for incentives, before regular salary package is released is an option with the state. The quality in hiring with certain loyalty factors to Government may be useful to the state Government. The hiring for two to four times unemployed in the state may bring in more cheers and benefits to the existing just two way methods for either daily wage or regular pay scale in prevalent system.
Nirmal Singh Keerka, Gen Secretary:
Punjab Heritage & Education Foundation, Chandigarh.