The MIDC Industries Association (MIA) recently sent a letter to Maharashtra Labour Minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar demanding implementation of Industrial Dispute Act 1947 in Vidarbha Region in place of the existing Maharashtra Industrial Relations Act 1946. “We, wish to bring to your notice that all establishments situated at MIDC Industrial Areas and other private areas in Vidarbha region are engineering industries.
These are at present governed by the Provisions of Maharashtra Industrial Relations Act 1946 (MIR 1946). However, establishments situated at Mumbai, Nashik, Pune, Aurangabad etc. are also engineering industries but they are governed by provisions of the Industrial Dispute Act 1947 (IDA 1947). Recognition of engineering industries under IDA 1947 in the above regions are able to derive benefits of Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Union and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act 1971,” highlighted the association adding that this Act helps them in maintaining the harmonious industrial relations, high welfare of the employees as well as industries.
C G Shegaonkar, Secretary, MIDC Industries Association, reiterated that it is only in the Vidarbha region of the State, where the engineering industry is governed by the provisions of MIR Act 1947. “Whereas in rest of Maharashtra excluding Vidarbha region, the Engineering Industry is governed by provisions of Industrial Dispute Act 1947. This may be due to historic reason, as is well known that Vidarbha was previously part of old Central Provinces and Berar Provinces,” the association mentioned in the letter adding “after the recognition of states Vidarbha became part of Maharashtra.
At this point of time, Maharashtra Legislature enacted the Bombay Industrial Relation (Extension and Amendment) Act 1964 and made the provisions of this Act applicable to Vidarbha region,” the association mentioned in the letter. While doing so, it was provided that provisions of Bombay Industrial Relations Act 1946 shall apply to those industries in Vidarbha region which were governed by the Central Provinces and Berar Industrial Disputes Settlement Act 1947. Therefore, all engineering industries in Vidarbha region were governed by MIR Act, which has been recently amended again and is now known as Maharashtra Industrial Relation Act, highlights the MIDC Industries Association.
Maharashtra Industrial Relation Act was originally enacted as a pre-independence legislation based on the industrial situation existed in pre-independence era. It is therefore, outdated and archaic legislation, which has outlived its utility. Under Maharashtra Industrial Relation Act 1946, there is no union registered as representative union for the engineering industry in the Vidarbha region. Therefore, 5 representatives of the employees are elected under section 28 of MIR Act. These representatives of employees are recognized bargaining agent. Since then, these Wage Agreements are signed between Management and prominent workers represented by 5 elected representatives under the MIR Act 1946. The term of these elected representatives is only two years.
Hence there is lack of consistency in the approach of the elected representatives. “This situation has made it very difficult for the management to maintain industrial relations in the absence of any recognised union due to unstable leadership in unions, inter-union rivalry and external interference having their own interest instead of protecting the interest of the workmen as well as promoting economic development of industry,” it added. The association further urged the minister to note that the Industrial Dispute Act 1946 is applicable to rest of Maharashtra and in India as well.
“Therefore, we are surprised, as to why the step-motherly treatment is being given to Vidarbha region by enforcing MIR Act, which is neither industry nor workforce friendly,” Shegaonkar categorically mentioned in the letter. “In view of the above-mentioned facts and circumstances, it is evident that industries in Vidarbha are facing lot of issues comparing to other industries in Maharashtra and reluctant to setup their manufacturing base in Vidarbha region. Hence, we strongly feel that applicability of Industrial Dispute Act 1946 will improve the industrial scenario and help promote the industries to set their manufacturing base in Nagpur / Vidarbha and protect the interest of the workmen at large,” the association highlighted. “We, therefore, sincerely request your goodself to kindly consider our above appeal in the right perspective and issue (with a) notification under sub Section 5 of Section 2 of MIR at in the official Gazette, directing that the provision of MIR Act shall cease to apply to engineering industries including establishments situated at MIDC Area, in Nagpur and Vidarbha,” the association further said.