The sense of term "Labour" means "Productive work done in order to earn daily
wages most preferably Physical work". Ever imagined what would it like to be
standing in a market and waiting for a whole day for someone to hire you or even
buy you (During ancient & medieval period) the concept of labour laws through
the time has generally been more black and white than grey.
In essence, either
they had rights (tribal and post organized societies), or they possessed none at
all ( slave owning society, feudal system, etc). As the time went by the working
conditions at the various work places became inhumane and unbearable which lead
to various protest and strikes which would eventually result in shutting off of
industries, factories and various other work places hence there were serious
need of laws which would Interest the rights of Labour/Working class and resolve
the grievances of those in second half of the 19th Century with the evolution of
Workers being easily accessible in the market hence they were in no position to
bargain with their employers for the simply terms and conditions of employment.
largely leaders being tuned in to their strength want to date their own terms
and staff being tuned in to their weakness and dependence on the employer for
need of their bread and butter were compelled by economic necessity to simply
accept those unfair terms and conditions of employment. however, where interfere
to render the connection on a just plane. therefore, the labour law grew apace
keeping pace with the growing of industry.
These laws and movements resulted in the formation of Trade Union. The trade
unions were the groups which represented the collective power and the voice of
the Labours till the modern time.
Employees argue least entity to deliver and therefore few standing in the legal
tribunal established the existent regulations, that is a wonderful thing as if
these belongings weren't skilled, all members would have happened exploited
further fancy (by means of services). These standards help in giving
construction to the labour environments that are governing in India. Hence it
protects equity and good character in addition to the improvement of society.
At present there are 17 major Labour Law Acts in India which protect the rights
of the Labour/Working class people. These laws also dignify the relationship
between the employees and employers.
Meaning and Essence of Labour Law:
"Labour legislation (also known as employment law or labour law) is the body of
laws, administrative rulings, and precedents which addresses the legal rights
of, and restrictions on, working people and their organizations. As such, it
mediates many aspects of the tripartite relationship between trade, unions,
employers and employees. In other words, Labour law defines the rights and
obligations as workers, union members and employers in the workplace. The law
relating to labour and employment in India is primarily known under the broad
category of "Industrial Law". Labour Legislation is one of the most progressive
and dynamic instruments for achieving socioeconomic progress."[i]
Labour Laws in India are also known as Industrial Laws the basic definition of
Labour Law can be determined as "the varied body of law applied to such matters
as employment, remuneration, conditions of work, trade unions, and industrial
Objective/Principles & Ingredients of Labour Laws:
The basic principles or objectives of labour laws is to make sure to have humane
condition at workplace. Where there is preservation of the health, safety as
well as welfare of people which would also eventually help to maintain the good
relations between the employers and employees.
Labour Laws aim to correct the ability disbalance between the workers and
It provides the workers with security so they can't be unjustly pink-slipped.
Therefore, they provide the workers the ability to barter and guarantee a decent
operating condition. In the late 1800s and early 1900s most of the workers spend
their whole day working around the machines most of them without any safety
gear, While some of them worked in the mines and other dangerous workplaces.
Even after all the work they were not paid suitable amount for their hard work.
Despite all these the owners expend very little amount than that was needed for
the safety and comfort of the workers.
Which resulted in the formation of labour unions which led to various strikes
and protest which ultimately resulted in the formation of Labour Laws. The
labour laws in India are governed by Constitution of India.
The articles of the Constitution which goes hand in hand with the welfare of the
Labourers some of them are as follows:
- Article 19(1)(a): Allows Labourers and Trade Union to give a free speech and
express their feeling through the peaceful Protest with the permission of the
- Article 19(1)(b): To gather peacefully without Arms;
- Article 19(1)(c): To form association and Unions;
However, There are also reasonable restriction on the workers and trade union
through article 19(2) told the court in the case of State of U.P vs Raj Narain &
Supreme Court in the Case of All India Bank Employs Association vs National
[iii] stated that "Strike is not a fundamental right U/S 19
reason being the impact it leaves on the Industry & People at large which would
affect production & economy.
- Article 21: Protection of Life and Personal liberty with the procedure established by law and it also comes with the Right to live with human dignity, also Right to live and work in the decent environment and humane condition.
- Article 39(d): There is equal pay for equal work for both men and women;
- Article 39(e): that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength;
- Article 42: Laws for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
- Article 43: To secure a living wage, a decent standard of life and social and cultural opportunities for all the workers.
- Article 43A: To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries.
These DPSP's which helps the Labourers/Working class persons were the ideas of
the Socialist people among the Congress.
The various Principles or the Ingredients of Labour Legislation are as follows:
The ingredients of Contemporary Labour Legislation of India help the labours by
providing them benefits like the health insurance, old-age pensions, maternity
The following are the principles of Modern Labour Legislation are as follows:
Industrialization and Labour Laws:
- Social Justice and Equality:
The term Social Justice indicates that the equal opportunity must be provided to every class of working people/Labourers so that they can reach to their full potential and get the opportunities like health care, protection at work place equally.
- Social Security and Welfare:
The Social welfare and Social Security of Labour Class is another objective of labour law.
- National Economy:
The Labour Laws helps in the growth of trade as the laws helps the labourers which keeps them intact and happy which results in good working conditions which satisfy their desires which result in good production which help in empowering the economy.
- International Solidarity:
In India the solidarity among the labourers is empowered by the WTO and UN as well as other international organizations.
The Industrial revolution opened its door in India when the first steam-powered
cotton mill in Asia was established at Bombay in 1854. As the result this was
followed up by the establishment of various industries and work mills which
caused huge increase in the labourers at all these places. The handicraft system
was almost at stake as every other person was attracted towards the industries
due to expectation of good lively hood and healthy wages.
The economy plays a big role within the growth of each country across the globe.
it's the economy that determines and separates the developed country from the
underdeveloped country. The economy of the developed nation depends principally
on the commercial sector whereas the underdeveloped countries' economy
principally depends on the agricultural sector. To revive the economic standing,
industry plays associate participant role in delivery the economical shift in
various countries across the world and therefore the same shift occurred with
industry in India.
However, the things didn't go as planed for the working class as it was the time
of Crown Rule on India hence the superiors of the industries focused on filling
up the pockets of the British/Queen and rather the people of work class were
There were various trade unions formed after the beginning of industrial period;
like the Trade Unions came-up in the Calcutta in 1854, with the establishment of
Jute Mills. However, the first factory Commission was set-up in 1879-80 which
focused on the problems of the industrial workers.
First trade union namely "Bombay Millhands Association" under leadership of
Narayan Meghji Lokhande was formed in 1884. Later on in 1881, The first Indian
Factory Act was passed the key points of the acts were as follows :
- The children with the age less than 7 could not work in the industries.
- Children between the age 7-12 would not work more than 9 hours a day.
- Children would also be provided 4 holidays in a period of one month.
- The act also provides the safety against the dangerous machinery.
Later the second Indian Factory Act was passed in the year 1891 which provided
weekly holiday for all the workers. It also fixed working hours for women to 11
hours per day.
After the implementation of Act Other trade unions were also formed and some of
them are as Ahmedabad Weavers (1895), Jute Mills, Calcutta (1896), Bombay Mill
workers (1897) Union.
Ahead of this the first organized Trade Union in India the Madras Labour Union
was established in the year 1918. After N.M. Joshi attended the conference on
behalf of labours, the extremist from the Congress under the leadership of Lala
Lajpat Rai formed All India Trade Union Congress in year 1920 and Lala Lajpat
Rai was named president. In 1923
The Workmen Compensation Act was passed . AITUC
were divided into - National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) and All India Red
Trade Union Congress (AIRTUC), later they were merged again. Later many acts
were passed namely The Trade Union Act,1926; The Industrial dispute Act,1926;
which cherished the growth of Industries and trade unions.
While on the Other hand the Conditions in the Britain ( the country which was
ruling over India) during industrialization period was much different than that
Although during the middle 18th century the Britain had already crossed its 20
years of industrialization. The industrialization began in the 1830 which also
resulted in the early and rapid growth in the sector for example:
Internationalization of Labour Laws:
- The first Factories Act was implemented just after 3 years of the industrialization in year 1833 which stated "the minimum age for the eligibility of the work will be from 9 years of age, the work hours were fixed 9-12 per day depending upon the age factor"
- The Second act was introduced after 9 years in 1842 which was stated as The Mines Act which increased the age from 9 to 10 years of age and women were barred from working in underground coal mines.
- The Factory Act 1844 Later proved to be crucial which reduced the working hour of children age 9-13 and required them to work for 6.5 hours a day and dedicate remaining 3 hours to school. Whereas, women and children over the age of 13 were not allowed to work for more than half a day i.e., 12hours/day.
- Later on, The factories Act of 1844, 1847, 1850 and 1856 were also included which kept on modifying about the age and the time period of work of the labourers.
The internationalization of Labour Laws began with the formation of
International Labour Organization(ILO) which was also formed along with the
League of Nations as a result to the Treaty of Versailles which was signed on
June 28,1919. The ILO's initial ideology was that "Peace can be established Only
if it is based on social justice" it was included in the part-13th of the
treaty. International Labour Law (ILO) in 1919 boosted up the way for
development for the labour laws in India
The ILO had a Ideology that "Labour is not a commodity" and gave slogan "Poverty
anywhere constitutes a danger to Prosperity elsewhere" after getting introduced
it had also changed the way of labour legislation in various countries.
International Labour Organization has always tried to establish a stable
standard for the labourers, ILO with the help of Conventions and suggestions
which formed a International Labour Code.
International Labour Organization governs and deals within the aspects of Wages,
hours of work, paid holidays, age determining factor for work, industrial
safety, welfare , social security, freedom of association etc.
The Internationalization of Labour Laws by ILO have widely influenced the Indian
Labour Legislations, specifically after the independence from colonial
rule/British rule , the DPSP's related to welfare of labour/Working class
clearly shows the influence of ILO.
International Labour Organization � Declaration on fundamental Principles and
Rights at Work. The Declaration was adopted in 1998, and it mandates the member
states to push the eight fundamental principles and rights. the elemental
Principles and Rights square measure categorised into four categories. They are:
� Freedom of Association and therefore the Right to dialogue
Elimination of discrimination at workspace
As a part of the Follow-up to the Declaration, the United Nations agency
DirectorGeneral conjointly submits a worldwide Report on one among the four
classes of fundamental principles and rights at work to the three-way
International Labour Conference.
The ILO proved more successful than the League of Nations. During the Second
World War, the organization had to temporarily move its headquarters to Canada.
The Philadelphia Declaration was adopted at the conference in that city in 1944,
drawing on central items of the Atlantic Charter including the principle that
"all human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, have the right to pursue
both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of
freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity".[iv]
ILO policies and standards are preferences that nations can adopt through
regulatory decisions, giving them a competitive advantage in global trade. This
is due to the fact that international conventions provide a universal basis for
policy, preventing nations from implementing measures such as deregulation in
order to gain trade advantages.
ILO Regulations and merits are preferences that nations can adopt through
statutory decisions, giving them a competitive advantage in global trade. This
is due to the fact that international conventions provide a universal basis for
policy, preventing nations from implementing measures such as deregulation in
order to gain trade advantages. In recognition of its activities, the
International Labour Organization was awarded the accolade for Peace.
The driving forces for the ILO's creation arose from security, humanitarian,
political and economic concerns. The founders of the UN agency recognized the
importance of social justice in securing peace, against a background of the
exploitation of staff within the industrializing nations of that point. There
was conjointly increasing understanding of the world's economic interdependency
and also the want for cooperation to get similarity of operating conditions in
countries competitive for markets.
The functions of the ILO include the development and promotion of standards for
national legislation to protect and improve working conditions and standards of
living. The ILO also provides technical assistance in social policy and
administration and in workforce training; fosters cooperative organizations and
rural industries; compiles labour statistics and conducts research on the social
problems of international competition, unemployment and underemployment, labour
and industrial relations, and technological change.
The Labour Laws have evolved from time to time which have helped the labour
class or the working-class people. The labour class have always been kept
deprive of their rights and pleasures which they deserve but by the virtue of
the labour laws these people can stand and fight for their rights however, the
rights they should be getting through
DPSP's are still very hard to get as they are not mandate and cannot be
challenged in the court.
The law about labour and employment is additionally referred to as Industrial
law in India. The history of labour legislation in India is interlacing with the
history of British victimization. The industrial/labour legislations enacted by
land were primarily meant to shield the interests of land employers. issues of
British political economy were naturally predominant in shaping a number of
these early laws.
The Labour laws act as a tool to promote labour empowerment as well as to
protect the rights of the labours in question. It helps to maintain the
individual and collective relations between the labour and the employer's.
Landmark legislation in the field of
labour law are not limited to labour codes and acts, but extend way being and
include the Constitutional of India, the civil codes, the Indian Penal Code, as
well as the supranational ILO Conventions.
There is no denial of the very fact that reforms to numerous labour laws were
long due. However, the requirement to strike a balance between reform for labour
welfare and interests of the investors for quicker growth can't be left
unnoticed. The labour laws for his or her sweeping effects, need larger
deliberation among all the stakeholders for additional policy directions. this
can propel India to a world category manufacturing-led growth trajectory The
various trade unions must be appreciated for their efforts the unity and
uniformity they present before the concerned authority today is thoroughly
- Slide Share, Labour Legalization by Jinmoy Baishya dated April 18, 2014. Adopted on September 20, 2022.
- 1975 AIR 865, 1975 SCR(3) 333.
- 1962 AIR 171, 1962 SCR (3) 269.
- ILO and its impact on Indian Labour Legislations by Kokila Beriya on Legal Services India D.O.P unknown, Retrieved on September 20, 2022.