It is the body of laws, administrative rulings, and precedents which address
the legal rights of, and restrictions on, working people and their
The body of law that governs the employer-employee relationship,
including individual employment contracts, the application of TORT and
contract doctrines, and a large group of statutory regulation on issues such
as the right to organize and negotiate collective bargaining agreements,
protection from discrimination, wages and hours, and health and safety.
What Labour LaW Means:-
While European writers often attach importance to the guilds and
apprenticeship systems of the medieval world, some Asian scholars have
identified labour standards as far back as the Laws of Hammurabi and rules
for labour-management relations in the Laws of Manu; Latin American
authors point to the Laws of the Indies promulgated by Spain in the 17th
century for its NewWorld territories.
Labour law as it is known today is essentially the child of successive
industrial revolutions from the 18th century onward.
The first landmark of modern labour law was the British Health and Morals
of Apprentices Act of 1802, sponsored by the elder Sir Robert Peel.
Similar legislation for the protection of the young was adopted in Zürich in
1815 and in France in 1841.
By 1848 the first legal limitation of the working hours of adults was adopted
by the Landsgemeinde (citizens’ assembly) of the Swiss canton of Glarus.
HISTORY of LABOUR LAW:-
Sickness insurance and workmen’s compensation were pioneered
by Germany in 1883 and 1884.
Compulsory arbitration in industrial disputes was introduced in New
Zealand in the 1890s.The progress of labour legislation outside western
Europe,Australia, and New Zealand was slow until afterWorldWar I.
There was virtually no labour legislation in Russia prior to the October
Revolution of 1917.
The more industrialized states of the United States began to enact such
legislation toward the end of the 19th century, but the bulk of the present
labour legislation of the United States was not adopted until after the
Depression of the 1930s.
In India children between the ages of seven and 12 were limited to nine
hours of work per day in 1881 and adult males in textile mills to 10 hours
per day in 1911, but the first major advance was the amendment of the
Factory Act in 1922 to give effect to conventions adopted at the first
session of the International Labour Conference at Washington, D.C., in
The ILO was created in 1919, as part of theTreaty ofVersailles that ended
WorldWar I, to reflect the belief that universal and lasting peace can be
accomplished only if it is based on social justice.
The Constitution was drafted between January and April, 1919, by the
Labour Commission set up by the Peace Conference, which first met in Paris
and then inVersailles.The Commission, chaired by Samuel Gompers, head of
the American Federation of Labour (AFL) in the United States, was
composed of representatives from nine countries: Belgium, Cuba,
Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, Japan, Poland, the United Kingdom and the
The ILO was located in Geneva in the summer of 1920 with France's
Albert Thomas as the first Director of the International Labour Office, which
is the Organization's permanent Secretariat. Under his strong impetus, 16
International Labour Conventions and 18 Recommendations were adopted
in less than two years.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United
Nations agency dealing with labour issues, particularly international labour
standards and decent work for all. Almost all (185 out of 193) UN members
are part of the ILO.
In 1969, the organization received the Nobel Peace Prize for improving
peace among classes, pursuing justice for workers, and providing technical
assistance to developing nations.
The ILO organizes the International Labour Conference in Geneva every
year in June, where conventions and recommendations are crafted and
adopted.Also known as the parliament of Labour, the conference also
makes decisions about the ILO's general policy, work programme and
Each member state has four representatives at the conference: two
government delegates, an employer delegate and a worker delegate.All of
them have individual voting rights, and all votes are equal, regardless of the
population of the delegate's member state.All delegate have the same rights,
and are not required to vote in blocs.
The origin of May Day is indissolubly bound up with the
struggle for the shorter workday – a demand of major political
significance for the working class.This struggle is manifest
almost from the beginning of the factory system in the United
Already at the opening of the 19th century workers in the
United States made known their grievances against working
from "sunrise to sunset," the then prevailing workday. Fourteen,
sixteen and even eighteen hours a day were not uncommon.
During the conspiracy trial against the leaders of Striking
Cordwainers in 1806, it was brought out that workers were
employed as long as nineteen and twenty hours a day.
The decision for the 8-hour day was made by the National
Labour Union in August, 1866.
It was at the first congress of the reconstituted International, later known as the Second
International, held at Paris in 1889, that May First was set aside as a day upon which the
workers of the world, organized in their political parties and trade unions, were to fight for
the important political demand: the 8-hour day.
The Paris decision was influenced by a decision made at Chicago five years earlier by
delegates of a young American labour organization – the Federation of OrganizedTrades
and Labour Unions of the United States and Canada, later known under the abbreviated
name,American Federation of Labour.
On May First Chicago witnessed a great outpouring of workers, who laid down tools at
the call of the organized labour movement of the city. It was the most effective
demonstration of class solidarity yet experienced by the labour movement itself.The
importance at that time of the demand – the 8-hour day – and the extent and character of
the strike gave the movement significant political meaning.This significance was deepened
by the developments of the next few days.The 8-hour movement, culminating in the strike
on May First, 1886, forms by itself a glorious chapter in the fighting history of the American
October 7, 1884, the following resolution was passed:
Resolved by the Federation of OrganizedTrades and Labour Unions the United States and
Canada, that eight hours shall constitute legal day's labour from May First, 1886, and that
we recommend to labour organizations throughout their jurisdiction that they so direct
their laws as to conform to this resolution by the time named.
May 1 Contd…
o Before 1918 it did not exist except for a few unions for white workers. It
was out of the strike movement of 1918 that the unions came into
o The first one was organised at Madras by Mr. B. P.Wadia. Since then the
progress of the movement has been both rapid and successful.
o The first instance of such a strike took place in Bombay, known as the
General Strike, in which 120,000 workers, mostly textile operators, took
part.The solidarity of the masses on that occasion was shown by
sympathetic strikes in other parts of the country.
o Similarly, another strike of several hundred thousand plantation workers
took place in Assam.
o According to the report of the Government Commission appointed to
inquire into the reason for labour unrest in India it was shown that in nine
months, from July, 1920, to March, 1921, in the province of Bengal, 137
strikes took place, reacting on all branches of industry. 244,180 workers
took part in these strikes, and 2,631,488 working days were lost. Of these
strikes 110 were for higher wages and 13 were for the continuation of
Labour Agitations in India:-
Some of the important laws under Labour Laws by ILO are:-
Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and
favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal
Everyone who works has the right to just and
favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence
worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of
Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the
protection of his interests.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation
of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
The Labour Laws:-
The Core Labour Standards are the those standards that are to be
maintained by every state regardless of the development of the country,
cultural values and other factors.These Core Labour Standards are:-
Freedom of association: workers are able to join trade unions that are
independent of government and employer influence;
The right to collective bargaining: workers may negotiate with employers
collectively, as opposed to individually;
The prohibition of all forms of forced labour: includes security from
prison labour and slavery, and prevents workers from being forced to work
Elimination of the worst forms of child labour: implementing a minimum
working age and certain working condition requirements for children;
Non-discrimination in employment : equal pay for equal work.
The Core Labour Standards:-
Articles 14, 19, 21, 23 and 24 form part of the Fundamental Rights
guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution.
Articles 38, 39, 39-A, 41, 42, 43, 43-A and 47 form part of the Directive
Principles of State Policy under Part IV of the Constitution.
Article 14:- Equality before Law.
Article 19:- Right to form associations and unions for protection of their
Article 21:- Right to life.
Article 23:- Article 23 of the Constitution prohibits traffic in human being
and beggar and other similar forms of forced labour.
Rights of Migrant Labours
Rights of Women Employees.
The Labour Laws in Indian