tamil nadu’s factories act bill 2023
In spite of objections from a number of parties, the Tamil Nadu Assembly has passed a Bill that will permit the introduction of flexible working hours under the Factories Act, 1948.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly has approved a bill that amends the Factories Act of 1948 to include extended or flexible working hours. MLAs from a number of political parties, including Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, staged a walkout in opposition to the Bill.
The MLAs expressed concern over the Bill’s provision of flexible work schedules for employees, which allowed them to choose between a 12-hour shift and a three-day weekend.
HOW DOES Tamil Nadu’s Factories Act bill AFFECT Workers?
According to Labour Minister Ganesan, similar working hours will continue, and any company that wants to choose flexible hours must obtain the consent of the employees. “48-hour work will still be done for a week. Additionally, not all companies will be subject to this amendment. This can only be implied in workplaces where employees choose to do so.
“Only for specific companies such as the electronics industries, non-leather shoe-making and electronic clusters, where only if the workers opt for it, meaning voluntarily, this would be given as an option,” said Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu.
However, according to Thennarasu, “This would immensely benefit women workers.”
According to Labour Welfare Minister CV Ganesan, “the remaining three days would be paid leave and the existing rules on leaves, overtime, salaries, etc. would remain unchanged.” He clarified that factories that forced their workers to work against their will would face punishment.
Following protests and a walkout by the Left parties, the Congress, and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) from the Assembly when the bill was taken up for discussion on the final day of the Assembly session today, the Ministers have clarified the TN Factories Act, 2023.
However, the bill was approved by voice vote because the government was supported by other allies like the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and the ruling DMK had a majority in the House.
The Labour and Welfare Minister stated earlier that the state is the hub of major manufacturing companies and has the highest number of factories and industrial workers in the nation when introducing the bill to amend the Tamil Nadu Factories Act, 1948.
The state government received requests to implement working hour reforms by enacting statutory provisions for flexible working hours, citing the numerous advantages it could provide for workers, particularly women employees, industry, and the economy as a whole, according to Ganesan.
Section 127 of the Central Code allowed the State government to issue notifications allowing, among other things, flexible working hours, including overtime and spread over hours inclusive of rest intervals, subject to such conditions and restrictions and for such period as deemed fit in relation to any factory or class of factories, in accordance with the statement of objects and reasons stated in the bill.
As the said Central code has not been put into effect, the State government decided to amend the Factories Act of 1948 (Central Act 63 of 1948) for its application to Tamil Nadu, it said.
Ganesan, who was with Thennarasu, later told reporters at the Secretariat, “According to the amendment, factories seeking exemption should obtain the employees’ consent to extend the working hours and this should not affect the employees’ wellbeing.”
“This is not a worker-hating action. Firms will treat it as a special case, and the government will only put it into effect after careful consideration, he added.
Thennarasu asserted that the amendment was made in light of the current global conditions because Tamil Nadu has become a popular location for foreign investment. “The move would create new employment opportunities, especially for women, and it is applicable only to certain sectors such as electronic industries, non-leather shoe-making industries, and electronic clusters,” the speaker asserted.
According to CPI (M) legislator VP Nagaimali, the act would benefit corporations, while CPI MLA T Ramachandran asserted that, if it were to be put into effect in its current form, it would eliminate the hard-won rights of employees, including wage increases and job security.
Sinthanai Selvan, a member of the VCK, stated: “This anti-worker act should be withdrawn because it will lead to the exploitation of workers.”
AIADMK WILL TAKE ALL REASONABLE STEPS TO PROTECT WORKERS’ INTEREST:
Edappadi K. Palaniswami, general secretary of the EPS AIADMK, has stated that his party will take any necessary action to safeguard the interests of state employees.
In reference to changes made to the Factories Act, he stated that the federal government created the act to allow workers to choose a 12-hour shift, adding that states are free to make changes as they see fit.
MK Stalin, the leader of the opposition and the current chief minister, “then opposed it and demanded that the state not pass it like other BJP-ruled states,” he said.
“The CM ought to read the statement he issued at the time. The recently passed bill should be repealed because it is against the interests of the workers, he said.
Despite the opposition from political parties, Tamil Nadu’s Factories Act bill was passed and this will bring much-needed flexibility to factory workers. This move is a step in the right direction for India as it will enable more women to join the workforce and allow factories to benefit from increased productivity without compromising on their employee’s safety or well being. We hope that other states follow suit in allowing more flexible working hours for factory workers so that everyone can benefit from improved work conditions and better quality of life.