India is a socialist republic where the working class is not confined to urban factories and technological services but to the vastly dispersed villages of rural India. There are several statutes that deal with the rights and duties of the working people and which are enforceable through courts. Indian jurisprudence has many dimensions where labour law does occupy a prominent judicial space. Trade unionism, with political and economic ideologies, has come up for semantic contribution before courts, especially with the Supreme Court making the final pronouncement.
This book on labour law is essentially meant for lawyers and judges dealing with labour law. A few of its major points are highlighted here in this review to give an idea of the main contents of the book. Justice Ganjendragadkar was a pioneer in the field of labour law. Labour law assigns a construction worker the status of not a mere wage earner but skilled producer of goods and services.
The labour legislations that govern the industrial relations, like the Trade Unions Act, 1926, the Industrial Employment Act, 1946, the Employment Act, 1946 and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 have contributed immensely to the growth of labour jurisprudence in India. Labour legislation is an adequate code on meeting the needs of labourers but in India, with its myriad problems, uncertainties and legislative gaps, the need for judiciary is of paramount importance to solve disputes.
Labour laws, especially laws relating to industrial relations are considered rigid by employers who find them restrict their freedom to carry on business with flexible labour and meet competitive situations in the global market. The strength of the organised sector workforce is receding daily and the unorganised sector constitutes 93 per cent of the total working population in the country and who work in totally exploitative conditions without any protective coverage by various legislations. The authors regret the failure of the Central Trade Union movement to address their critical issues.
Further the authors have cited and explained the threshold issues under the Industrial Disputes Act, Industrial Employment Acts and other issues and clarified certain key aspects of industrial relations in India and in the outside world, with a view to impressing upon the readers that labour laws are not harsh but humane and oriented towards providing a protective mechanism for the economically weaker sections of this vast country. They themselves claim that the basic aim of their work is to impart an understanding of the very linkage between labour issues and constitutional philosophy as perceived by Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer and clarify the ?the art of interpretation and undertaking of the provisions of various labour legislations for students of law, researchers, academics, trade union organisations and managerial persons.?
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