CONTRACT LABOUR IN INDIA
10.1 The system of employing contract labour is prevalent in most industries in different occupations including skilled and semi skilled jobs. It is also prevalent in agricultural and allied operations and to some extent in the services sector. A workman is deemed to be employed as Contract Labour when he is hired in connection with the work of an establishment by or through a contractor. Contract workmen are indirect employees; persons who are hired, supervised and remunerated by a contractor who, in turn, is compensated by the establishment. Contract labour has to be employed for work which is specific and for definite duration. Inferior labour status, casual nature of employment, lack of job security and poor economic conditions are the major characteristics of contract labour. While economic factors like cost effectiveness may justify system of contract labour, considerations of social justice call for its abolition or regulation. 10.2 The condition of contract labour in India was studied by various Commissions, Committees, and also Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour, before independence and after independence. All these have found their condition to be appalling and exploitative in nature. The Supreme Court of India in the case of Standard Vacuum Refinery Company Vs. their workmen (1960-II-ILJ page 233) observed that contract labour should not be employed where: — (a) (b) (c) The work is perennial and must go on from day to day; The work is incidental to and necessary for the work of the factory; The work is sufficient to employ considerable number of whole time workmen; and 85 (d) The work is being done in most concerns through regular workmen.
THE CONTRACT LABOUR (REGULATION AND ABOLITION) ACT, 1970 10.3 The concern for providing legislative protection to this category of workers, whose conditions have been found to be abysmal, resulted in the enactment of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970. OBJECTS AND PURPOSES OF THE ACT 10.4 The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 was brought on the Statute Book to regulate the employment of Contract Labour in certain establishments and to provide for its abolition in certain circumstances and for matters connected therewith.
10.5 The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 and the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Central Rules, 1971 came into force on 10.2.71.The constitutional validity of the Act and the Central rules were challenged before the Supreme Court in Gammon India Ltd. Vs. Union of India 1974-ILLJ-480. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the Act & Rules and held that there is no unreasonableness in the measure. The Act & Rules were enforced w.e.f. 21.03.1974. 10.6 The Act applies to every establishment in which 20 or more workmen are employed or were employed on any day on the preceding 12 months as contract labour and to every contractor who employs or who employed on any day of the preceding 12 months 20 or more workmen. It does not apply to establishments
86 where the work performed is of intermittent or seasonal nature. An establishment wherein work is of intermittent and seasonal nature will be covered by the Act if the work performed is more than 120 days and 60 days in a year respectively. The Act also applies to establishments of the Government and local authorities as well.
CONTRACT LABOUR IN INDIA office till their successors are appointed. The appointment of employer and employee members of the Board is under process. Fifty meetings of the Central Advisory Contract Labour Board (CACLB) have so far been held. The last meeting was held on 22nd November 2001. 10.11 The existing Central Advisory Contract Labour Board has held three meetings during the year under report and considered various issues relating to abolition of contract labour system in certain establishments. The working of the Act was also reviewed...