Plantation Labour Act 1951
Tea Association of India (TAI) has stated that repealing of Plantation Labour Act 1951 will affect the tea Industry. TAI stated ‘The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019’, is expected to be introduced in the Budget session of the Lok Sabha. Earlier this Code was referred to the Standing Labour Committee after being introduced in the Parliament for garnering inputs from various stakeholders. The body stated, “As is commonly known this Code amalgamated 13 Central Labour Code including Plantation Labour Act 1951.
- This Code contains a specific clause viz. clause 134, which states that various Acts that would stand repealed w.e.f. such date as may be notified in this behalf including that of Plantation Labour Act 1951, subject to the application of provisions of section 6 of the General Clause Act 1897 which means that it will not affect any right, privilege obligations or liberty accrued under any enactment so repealed including any investigation, legal procedure or remedy in respect of such right privilege, obligations etc.
- The definition of wages under Plantation Labour Act 1951 was the definition as appearing in the Payment of Minimum Wages Act.
- With the Code on Wages Bill 2019 converted to Act, the definition of ‘Wages’ is all pervasive which stipulates that if an employee is given in lieu of wages or part of any wages payable to him any amount by the employer, any remuneration in kind by his employer, the value of such remuneration in kind which does not exceed fifteen per cent of the total wages payable to him, shall be deemed to form part of the wages of such employee, in other words if the wages payable in kind as is permissible under the Minimum Wages Act 1948 this enabled the employer to consider wages paid in kind to constitute wages.
- TAI stated that reportedly Plantation Labour Act 1951 would be repealed has caused consternation in the mind of the Industry, notwithstanding the representation that the industry has mounted before the Government of India.
- With the organized Tea industry facing a continuing slide, because of various forces impacting the organized tea industry the predominant apprehension that the Industry is currently faced with, is the apprehension of the term ‘wages’ as would be made applicable to the Tea Industry.
- The Government of India having already notified the draft wages (Central) Rules 2019 under the provisions of Code on Wages Act 2019 it appears that the Government has already embarked on the path of dealing with ‘wages’ as would be applicable to the Industries in the Country including the Tea Industry.