‘No Distinction’ Between Workers: Manesar Auto Firm’s Union Defends Membership to Contract Worker
New Delhi: There is no distinction between the workers when it comes to forming a union, said the employees’ union of Manesar-situated Bellsonica Auto Components, an auto parts manufacturer, in its reply to Haryana Labour Department, while defending the grant of membership to a contractual worker.
Last year, the union, in a first-of-its-kind initiative in Gurugram’s automotive belt, had granted membership to a contract worker of the company, in a move that prompted the state’s Labour Commissioner-cum-Registrar of Trade Unions to seek an explanation from the former earlier this month.
The action, “prima-facie appears illegal” as it is a “contravention” of the Constitution of the union, read the commissioner’s letter dated September 5, addressed to the union.
The Constitution of the union, framed under relevant provisions of the Trade Union Act of 1926, however, does not make any distinction between a regular and a contract worker, the Bellsonica employees union has said in its reply, adding that forming a union is a fundamental right of every citizen.
“The Trade Union Act, 1926 does not make any distinction between a regular and contract worker when it comes to forming a union,” the reply dated September 28 read. “... the constitution/rules of the Union as framed under Section 6 of the Trade Union Act, 1926 also does not make any distinction between a regular and contract worker,” added the letter, a copy of which has been accessed by NewsClick.
The reply further added that the Constitution of the union has been duly approved by the office of the Labour Commissioner.
The matter pertaining to the grant of membership to one contract worker at Bellsonica, which is also a first-tier vendor of Maruti, was brought to the fore when the factory management of the said company’s Manesar unit flagged the action in August this year, demanding cancellation of the union’s registration, NewsClick has reported earlier.
Subsequently, the latest objection of the Haryana government to granting membership to a contract worker had also called for attention to the burning question faced by trade unions in the country: Can contract workers be unionised?
Labour law experts, with whom NewsClick spoke to earlier, are of the opinion that a union is within its rights to grant membership to the contract workers if its Constitution allows for the same.
Likewise, other union leaders also extended their support to the move, underscoring that the unionisation of contract workers is a long-pending demand and must be achieved within the industrial quarters in the country.
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