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Kerala labour department in reform mode

Kochi : Introduction of an online wage protection system, a 24X7 call centre to address labour issues and complaints and assurance of minimum wages for teachers in private schools are going to be a reality in Kerala as the labour department has decided to turn employee friendly.

Additional Labour Commissioner G.L. Muraleedharan Thursday said the online wage protection system being introduced under the labour commissionerate will ensure ‘timely disbursal of wages for employees working primarily in the unorganized sector. He said this while inaugurating a seminar on labour laws here.

Hundreds of people working in hospitals, jewellery and textile shops and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) will be covered in the initial phase.

“All employers will have to transfer wages of their employees to an account maintained by the labour department, which will be instantly transferred to respective employees’ account on the same day. This will ensure timely disbursement of salaries. We will be able to assure employees that they will be paid decent salaries, not below the minimum wages,” said Muraleedharan.

All complaints relating to loading and unloading of goods could also be addressed through the call centre working round-the-clock, he said.

This has been done as a section of head-load workers often create problems during loading and unloading operations, often leading to a law and order situation.

“We intend to ensure direct, on-the-spot involvement of police to protect the rights of people to load and unload their goods on their own terms. The call centre will start its functions from next month onwards,” said the official.

The other initiative will be assuring minimum wages to teachers in private schools in the state. The Kerala State Private School Teachers (Minimum Wages) Act will be introduced in the next session of the assembly.

The Kerala State Shops and Industrial Establishments Act will also be revamped and no employer will be in a position to hold their employees’ original certificates, instead, they will be able to keep only copies of the same in company records.