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Three states ease labour laws to boost investment, jobs | India News

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NEW DELHI: The relaxation of rigid and archaic labour laws by Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh (reported by TOI in its Friday edition), and by Gujarat late Friday evening, is expected to help restart economic activity, attract investments, and in the long run, create more jobs by ushering in labour market flexibility. Trade unions, however, attacked the relaxations as retrograde and warned of erosion of rights of workers.
The decision of the two governments to allow employers to raise working hours by four hours and up to 72 hours a week in overtime for workers who are willing, allow third-party inspections for new units, and permit employers to change their working hours, are expected to do away with rigidities that have hamstrung businesses and deterred fresh investments.
The changes include exemptions from the requirement to maintain registers and suspension of the requirement to take precautions which trade unions consider essential for labour safety, but have been criticised by others as an excuse for harassment by factory inspectors.
“Today the most urgent requirement is to create new jobs. This means giving flexibility in hiring of workers while ensuring minimum wages, safety and security for workers,” former union labour secretary Shankar Agarwal told TOI. Without jobs, there is no point in talking about labour rights, he added. He said states are empowered to take action under the National Disaster Management Act and are well within their rights to change rules.
There is an expectation that other states will follow suit — Haryana has already made some moves – to remove hurdles that hinder efforts to woo foreign capital, especially if investors move away from China because of country’s association with the outbreak of the pandemic.
“For the next two quarters each state should replicate what has been done by UP and MP. Emergency times need emergency measures, and upon normalcy we believe we need to appoint a labour commission to look at the 27,000 compliances across almost 440 central and state Acts and around 1,400 filings.
‘There should be only one labour code for rapid economic recovery’
There should be one labour code to pave the path for rapid economic recovery and job creation,” said Rituporna Chakraborty, executive vice president and co-founder of staffing firm Teamlease.
Rejecting the argument that the provisions will dilute the rights of labour, Chakraborty said the formal sector has progressed significantly in terms of being compliant and hence exploitation isn’t the biggest challenge in the formal Sector. “Most of the exploitation is around the informal sector, where in any case no labour laws applied in the past and won’t in future,” she said.
Archaic and cumbersome labour laws have been cited as a stumbling block for accelerating reforms and employers have often demanded flexibility in hiring and firing decisions. The Centre has undertaken steps to reform some laws and have unveiled codes. There is worry that inflexible labour laws might prove to be impediment if “reshoring” of global capital happens in the wake of coronavirus. India had earlier failed to take advantage of rising wages in China with the investors opting for destinations defined by flexible labour laws.
Trade unions said they have been informed that more state governments such as Gujarat, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Telangana are planning similar moves. “We are writing to the Centre and state government to explain to us how suspension of labour laws will help in restarting economic activity. Give us the justification,” said Virjesh Upadhyay, general secretary of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh which is linked to BJP, the party which is in office in UP, MP and Haryana.
Leaders of seven political parties in a letter addressed to the President raised concerns over the security, welfare, livelihood and future of crores of working people. “Using the pretext of battling the Covid-19 pandemic, drastic changes are being made to the existing labour laws of the country which further jeopardise the lives and well-being of working people. Already the country is witness to the most inhuman tragic dimensions of the plight of the migrant works since the national lockdown has been enforced. Far from protecting the fundamental right to life and dignity, today’s conditions are barbaric,” said the letter signed by CPM’s SItaram Yechury and D Raja of CPI among others.
In Video:Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat ease labour laws

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Harbaugh has two years left | News, Sports, Jobs

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Usually, college football coaches at major programs have many years on their contract that helps them persuade recruits to sign with the school.

Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh enters his sixth season as coach with just two years left on his deal that pays him about $7 million per season, adding another layer of interest to the 18th-ranked Wolverines as they kick off the season this week at No. 21 Minnesota.

Harbaugh said in July that he was closing in on a contract extension earlier this year before dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic became a top priority for him and the school.

Harbaugh was on a Zoom call with reporters on Monday, for the first time in three-plus months, and said there was no update on contract talks.

What his message to recruits, who may hear other coaches question Harbaugh’s commitment to the school or vice versa?

“Go Blue,” Harbaugh said.

Michigan linebacker James Ross got to know Harbaugh when his brother, James, played linebacker for him in 2015 and his first impression of him has not changed over the years.

“Coach Harbaugh was a very passionate guy, very motivated guy,” Ross said. “He rallies all of us together as one. I love that guy and I’m glad he’s in my head coach.”

Harbaugh is 47-18 overall with the Wolverines and 32-12 in the Big Ten, including an 0-5 record against the Buckeyes. Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel has said repeatedly that he wants Harbaugh to lead the Wolverines until he chooses to retire from coaching.

Harbaugh did not appear to be pleased that the school he works for was among the Big Ten institutions that were in favor initially of punting football season to early 2021.

The Big Ten reversed its decision in mid-September less than five weeks after the conference announced it would push football and other fall sports to spring.

Harbaugh was an outspoken advocate for playing this year despite the pandemic. He pointed to protocols that have kept players and staff safe along with the fact that the young men on his team have been training for years to compete in 2020.

“They’ve put themselves in a position to have their chance, have their opportunity, to show what they can do and that’s the biggest thing I’m excited about,” he said. “There’s challenges, but the opportunity is the thing that means the most.”

Harbaugh said the program has had some positive COVID-19 tests over the last month, but that everyone had negative results as of Monday.

While Harbaugh said quarterback Joe Milton has been practicing with the first-string offense, he said it is difficult to name starters due to testing. He said players have to have negative tests Friday to travel with the team and again on Saturday to play that evening against the Golden Gophers.

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Australia cuts jobs, overhauls migration plan | India News

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In what could upset the plans of Indians seeking greener pastures, Australia has drastically restructured its migration planning programme for 2020-21 in the wake of the pandemic, reports Uttara Varma.
Under the migration programme, jobs for overseas people have been cut drastically as the government wants to offer more jobs for native Australians.
The programme envisages priority to certain professions like IT and healthcare over others like in the US. This year, only 79,600 placements have been allocated under the skill stream, a fall from 1,08,682 placements allocated in 2019-20. Skilled independent visas, which allow outsiders to settle and work anywhere in the country, have been reduced to 6,500 — a sharp fall of 65% from the previous years. Employer-sponsored visas are set to decline by about 27% to 22,000 spots.
In an email response to TOI, a spokesperson from the Australian department of home affairs said: “The focus for the permanent migration programme 2020-21 is to support our economic recovery, growing Australian businesses and creating jobs for Australians.” The areas that are seeing a rise are ‘global talent’ bracket and the ‘business innovation and investment program (BIIP)’. The first allows only experts in their field to fill gaps that cannot be filled by Australians, while the latter will be used for job creation.

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“Jobs for Nature” skydivers upgrade historic glacier view track

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As a part of the Jobs for Nature programme, DOC has allocated $13 million of Kaimahi for Nature funding to the West Coast and is working closely with its partners in the Kotahitanga Ki Te Uru Alliance, to establish initiatives designed to help distressed businesses affected by the economic downturn of Covid-19 to retain their staff.

The skydivers, from Skydive Franz and Fox Glacier, have been affected by the lack of international tourists, and have quickly turned their hand to track building and are making good progress on upgrading the historic Alex Knob track.

‘Alex Knob’ is a 17.2 kilometre return track located in the Franz Josef Glacier valley. It saw a 17 per cent increase in visitor numbers (a total of 3800 track counter hits) in the year to June 30, as visitors sought new ways to view the Franz Josef Glacier, which has retreated markedly in the valley.

The new track building crew are upgrading the surface of the track, which over time has become rough and rutted as water has eroded sections and debris has fallen on the track. The upgrade means the track will be more suitable for a wider range of visitors. At present it is classified as a “tramping track”.

Senior Heritage and Visitor Ranger Ian Singleton says, “We showed the crew the ropes and have worked alongside them to be sure they are working safely, and now they are working autonomously with input from us when needed. Working with skydivers gives you the confidence that they’ll follow good processes to ensure safety as they have that culture in their workplace already.”

Robbie Stewart, Skydive Franz and Fox Glacier Base Manager says, “Without this opportunity from DOC it would have been difficult to continue operating in the current economic climate.

“A skydiving operation requires a range of highly skilled staff including tandem instructors, pilots, ground crew and front of house staff, all of whom are critical to the operation. The project means that we at Skydive Franz and Fox Glacier have been able to keep all these critical staff employed – without which we would have been forced to close the operation. This opportunity not only allows us to continue operating but also means that, as one of the top nine skydiving venues in the world offering New Zealand’s highest skydive, we can continue to attract visitors to the district thereby making a contribution to the sustainability of the overall community including other operators in the tourist trade, hotels, restaurants and the hospitality industry in the region.”

The track was originally built by the Graham Brothers who developed a Franz Josef guiding business and hotel for tourists who wanted to experience the beauty of this area. Although the track climbs to 1303m, the zig zag construction means it has a relatively gentle gradient up the hill and is suitable for most well-prepared people with average fitness.

Ian Singleton says, “The Alex Knob track is a great example of the type of track you can walk if you take a bit more time in South Westland, and the view from the top is world class –you have a marvellous 360 degree view out to the coast, north and south, and a panorama of the glacier and Southern Alps.”

/Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.

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