Justice P.B Gajendragadkar heading as the chairman, the first National Labour Commission was formed on 26th December 1966 to which the final report was submitted in August 1969. The main aim and objectives of the Commission was to study, examine and give a review on the lifestyle of the labour community of India since independence.
In developing the framework, the Commission was to take into account of the rapid development and changes in the technological field along with the emerging nature of economy. The other field the Commission had to focus on was the liberalization of trading activities and globalization of economy.
Several groups were formed under the Commission to study with deep cautious and review the various laws and legislation for the unorganized sector labourers, which in return impacts the globalization of economy, social security, living standard, child labour, working condition of labour, skill development, and in giving training and education to the labourers.
Important points of the Recommendation and Conclusion of the Commission
The report opens with the statement about the improvement and changes that had occurred in the labour community of India. The significant development and strength was more in the context of industrial labourers. The labourers working in the industries had managed to acquire dignity which their predecessors had not known. And although there was a steady rise in the number of industries which had given many work opportunities with multiple facilities, the beneficiaries given to the labourers was comparatively low.
With the coming and development of the industries in the country, the rate of urbanization was spontaneously increasing. This process of sudden rise in urbanization had given range of benefits to the labourers living in and around the particular area. But the growth urbanization came with a price and it was in the form of challenges and difficulties in the field of transport, housing, sanitization and also brought changes in the labour’s attitude.
As industries grow, it attracted many working community who had earlier depended on agriculture in the rural areas during the late 1950s. This led to a huge number of people migrating from the rural areas to the suburb or urban areas in search of better work which would result in higher rate of income and better living conditions. Some of the old industries by the time the report was made had already had second or even third generation labourers working. Being exposed to the heat of urban life the labourers had gained conscious that education played a huge role when it comes to getting jobs. This led to self-education in the adult literacy centers. What was more was that the labourers started to give importance to education for themselves and especially for their children in the hope of a better future.
On the other hand as there was a steady rise in the field of industries especially in the small scale industries, more hardships had rise for the labourers and on top of all the hardships the unfair wages for the bulk amount of work seems the most serious.
The Recommendations of the Commission can be briefly describe as follow:
1) Recruiting of Labourers.
Looking in overview, the condition of recruitment of labourers or work seekers had steadily improved. Recruiting labourers on a contract basis was gaining popularity although not in terms of large scale. This was seen especially in the mines and other plantation fields. 0n top of this the National Employment has played an important role in bringing the work seekers or labourers to the employers. This process was to even increase more and the National Employment Service needs to organize more awareness programs regarding the job opportunities and it should all be done in free of cost for the labourers or working community who seeks for work.
2) Labour Administration.
The National Employment Service has to play a vital role to organize a uniform form of wages, working condition, and working hours for the labourers across the country. Should study in deep and take survey providing information on market employment. It should help to strengthen the manpower and develop the skills for the economic growth of the country.
3) Worker’s Education and Training.
The condition of the worker’s education was far from satisfactory and it needed to improve. The Central Board of Worker’s Education should act as the main pillar and allow the trade unions to implement and formulate worker’s education. The employers on the other hand has a vital role to play along the side of trade unions and grant permissions for the educational programs to be held in the work place or grant leave on specific time for this purpose.
For training the workers, the Training and Employment Organizations in the states should be under the control of the State Labour Department and carry out the needful activities. On top, there should be a uniform qualification for all the trainers across the country. The main burden should fall on the Trade Unions for training the workers. The trainings should include skills development trainings in the field of machines and other needful skills depending on the demands and needs of the particular employer or industry.
4) Working Conditions.
Like the other fields that needed to be improved, the working condition for the labourers also needed improvement. For this matter more safety equipments for all labourers and a safety officer for factories or industries employing 1000 or higher numbers of workers should be provided. The states with no safety councils must introduce safety councils and the safety councils should be set up in all industries or factories with precarious working conditions. Trade Unions and Employer’s organizations should draw more attentions in the safety measures for the workers. The working hour also needed to be checked as many employers employ their workers for long hours but give inappropriate income.
The condition of inspection was seriously in need of revision as most of the factories or industries were left uninspected. This was to change for the betterment of the workers live and the production of the industries and factories. The state needs to appoint as many staff as possible for this particular matter. The safety measures, working hours, working conditions and other sphere of working community adds needs to be inspected frequently so that the orders or the schemes are implemented without any delay or ignorance.
6) Labour Welfare.
For the welfare and well being of the labourers the factories and industries employing a number of 1000 workers or more needed the following facilities:
a) Sanitization and proper hygiene facilities.
b) Rest rooms for having lunch and taking rest during the breaks time of work.
c) Medical facilities
d) Crèche- facility where babies are taken care while their mothers are working.
e) Transport facilities – this was for the workers who live far from the work place and had to travel daily.
f) Recreation and cultural facilities for the workers for specific day or time according to convenience of the employer.
g) Distress relief and cash security in times of emergencies such as injury or other important life events.
h) Personal Counseling-giving awareness to the labourers individually about the works they are carrying out and the beneficiary adds they have for doing particular work.
All in all the commission had given a proper and precise report on the prevailing conditions of the working community in the country during the period of post independence till 1969. Their observations, study and surveys had given a clear picture on the areas where the state and central government along with the employers need to focus on changing or improving or what was needed for introduction and formations to be done.
The ground reality was that the conditions of the labourers were far from improvement even after the report was made. Indeed there were some improvements and new beneficiaries were introduce taking the recommendations given by the commission seriously but when it came to the bigger picture it was a too little and almost ignorable as the employers and the factory or industries owners look for more profit for themselves while ignoring the basic needs of the labourers.
At the end the work of the commission has to be acknowledged as it is from their work that the government and the people came to the lime light of understanding the harsh reality of the labourers working in the factories or industries while the rapid development in this field had blinded the people from seeing the real picture underneath.
- Reports of the National Commission on Labour. New Delhi: Academic Foundation, 2003, page no: 229-260
- Goyal, Pratibha. Labour Welfare and Job Satisfaction. Deep and Deep. 1995, page no: 1-3.
- Punekar S.D. Deodhar S.B. Mrs. Sankaran Saraswathi. Labour Welfare Trade Unionism and Industrial Relations. Himalaya Publishing House. 1978,
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