Contractors and the Principal Employer both failed
When Contractors and the Principal Employer both failed to pay the wages to the laborers within the prescribed period what is the remedy? How to regulate the system if the system going to sustain in BSNL?
The Existing Provisions of 1970 Contract Labor Act are incorporated in the New code Bill namely ‘The Occupational safety, Health and Working Conditions code 2019 ( Bill No. 186 of 2019)”. The arrangement of clauses regarding contract Laborers is given in the Chapter 11 as special provisions in that code.
The other Code ‘The code on wages issued by Law Ministry on 8th Aug 2019’ also speaks of Contract laborers and Payment of wages
In the OSH Code 2019 the following are the provisions regarding the responsibility of payment of wages
55. (1) A contractor shall be responsible for payment of wages to each contract labour employed by him and such wages shall be paid before the expiry of such period as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government.
(2) Every contractor shall, make the disbursement of wages referred to in sub-section (1), through bank transfer or electronic mode and inform the principal employer electronically the amount so paid by such mode: Provided that where it is not practicable to disburse such payment otherwise than in cash, then, it shall be disbursed in the presence of a representative duly authorised by the principal employer and it shall be the duty of such representative to certify the amount so paid as wages in such manner as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government
(3) In case the contractor fails to make payment of wages referred to in sub-section (1), within the prescribed period or makes short payment, then, the principal employer shall be liable to make payment of the wages in full or the unpaid balance due, as the case may be, to the concerned contract labour employed by the contractor and recover the amount so paid from the contractor either by deduction from any amount payable to the contractor under any contract or as a debt payable by the contractor.
(4) The appropriate Government, in the event the contractor does not pay the wages to the contract labour employed by him, shall pass the orders of making payment of such wages from the amount deposited by such contractor as security deposit under the licence issued by the licensing officer to the contractor, in the manner as prescribed by the appropriate Government
Our Case In BSNL
In the BSNL the question is who is the Principal employer- GM of respective SSAs or CGM or CMD?
As PER THE EXISTING ACT or as per the proposed CODE 2019
A contractor shall be responsible for payment of wages to each contract labour employed by him.
If the Contractor fails to pay wages as per agreed tender conditions within the prescribed period , the Principal Employer is liable to make the payment (the wages) directly to the laborers as the establishment is having the copy of muster roll.
What is the prescribed period? As per the Payment of wages Act it is before the expiry of 7thday / 10th day.
In BSNL every contractor is failing every month to make payment before these dates. The Principal employer is also failing every month and not making payment directly to the laborers as per the GOI act.
If GM is the Principal Employer, he has to seek fund by bringing the failure of Contractors to the notice of His Higher-ups like CGM/CMD in order to make payment directly to the laborers as per the directions of the Act?
What is the practice going on?
Contractors of BSNL are giving claim bills without taking any responsibility of payment and waiting for fund from BSNL. In turn BSNL SSAs are issuing pay orders without checking the responsibility of Contractors regarding payment and dues like PF etc. CGM office is projecting fund in the appropriate head. ND CO is failing to clear funds stating the financial crisis. MOC in parliament is reporting that in BSNL priority is for Employees payment and for statutory dues. Settlement of Contractors Bills is secondary only.
If that fellow contractor failed, why the BSNL management is sending money to his account as per his claim bill after some months? Who can instruct that ‘Gentleman’ to spend the money deposited in his account as per his claim to pay the labors. Whether PF office is accepting his delayed PF remittance?. After money deposited how can you tally in what way he spends money?
Whether payment due to labour is statutory in nature or not as per the acts?
The settlement to contractor’s bills may not be statutory as MOC recorded. ‘When contractor failing his responsibility to pay it then the principal employer is liable to pay it’ means what.. Is it not statutory? The failure of awareness of the provisions of the act and the absence of moral compass right from the contractors to concerned authorities are the causes of severity of the issue
Whether the LEO/RLC is monitoring?
The Enforcement Officers like LEO/RLC is failing to inspect the BSNL offices and checking the records and taking appropriate actions, even after unions bringing the ordeal of CL due to nonpayment months together
Why not CLMS in BSNL?
CLMS- Contract Labor Management system is a web based system designed by Coal ministry and followed by NLC. The software module is to digitize the work environment. The CLMS will provide all the details about the system like contractors, their licensing, labour, payment, work order details etc. Unfortunately the ministry framing the Digital communication policy and celebrating Digital India is not following and not directing BSNL and MTNL to create one such software like CLMS. Unfortunately this has not become the demand of any stakeholders.