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Exploited Labour Exposure?

Labour officials in Samdrupjongkhar have taken a bold decision.  They have warned companies in Samdrupjongkhar and Pemagatshel for not regularising temporary workers, who had been working for more than six years.

While we wait for the follow up actions, it would be interesting to know what will happen to the companies and the workers themselves.  The rule is clear.  Companies, which employ workers on a temporary basis, should regularise them after six months.

This will have repercussions.  The worker would gain in many ways.  He or she will secure a job, avail leave and become a part of the provident fund plan.  Companies will be at the losing end.  It is cheaper to recruit on temporary basis, as they need not pay other benefits over and above the monthly salary.

What labour officials or inspectors found out in the two dzongkhags, however, is nothing new or unique.  A lot of companies recruit people on temporary basis, and a lot of them have worked for more than six months, some even more than a decade.  Companies know the rule, but have not followed it.  These are not only private companies; even government-owned companies twist the rule.

So the question is, when the rule is crystal clear, why are companies and businesses not adhering to it?

Like many of our legislations and rules, this regulation is not practical with the ground reality.  We know through experience that a majority of our employers do everything to maximise profit and fine-tune their tricks to bypass the rules.  Why would someone pay high wages or other benefits when their motive is to make profits?

That is why today, even with many unemployed within the country, employers prefer to look outside for cheaper labour rather than take on Bhutanese workers.  For businesses, understandably, profit will remain more important than the national employment problem or better wages.  Employers are always one step ahead of the rule.

We can be sure of something if labour officials come down hard.  Many would lose jobs after every six months to be hired again, if lucky.  Many workers are not aware of their rights.  But there are some, who do, yet nothing can be done.  This is because they know they would lose their job.  It is like the oft-quoted Bhutanese line – something is better than nothing.

At a time when unemployment is rising and youth unemployment is getting out of control, not many would complain even if they have a temporary job.  It is better to stick to a temporary job than lose it.

But that does not mean that workers should be exploited.  When our graduates, at all levels, are asked to look for jobs outside the civil service, the sector outside the civil service should be made attractive.  One way to do that is by implementing the rules strictly.

 

 Courtesy: kuenselonline, Monday, September 1st, 2014
Jun 05, 2014    News    admin   1072 views   

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