The workers across Tamil Nadu employed in shops and establishments are elated as they will soon get a chair in the shops where they are working. A new Bill introduced by the Tamil Nadu government on the ‘right to sit’ has given the workers a much-needed relief.
It was on Monday (September 6) that the Tamil Nadu Minister for Labour Welfare and Skill Development C.V. Ganesan introduced a Bill in the state Assembly to amend the Shops and Establishments Act 1947, making it mandatory for shops and establishments to provide seating arrangements for employees working in shops and commercial establishments.
The Bill stated, “Considering the plight of the employees, the premises of every establishment shall have suitable seating arrangements for all employees so that they may take advantage of any opportunity to sit which may occur in the course of their work and thereby avoid ‘on their toes’ situation throughout the working hours.”
While the workers across the state cheered the Bill, the traders’ organizations and many traders are unhappy with the decision.
Manimekhala, a worker at a textile shop in Santhome, Chennai said, “The Tamil Nadu government bringing out a Bill is a long-awaited and cherished moment for people like me who have to stand from morning till evening creating several health and mental issues.”
However, the government brought such a Bill is not welcomed by many traders who believe that this would lead to lethargy and lack of interest in work among the employees.
Shanmughasundran, a textile shop owner in the T Nagar, Chennai said, ” We are providing everything for the employees and there is no need for such a Bill. This will lead to several employees turning lethargic and their productivity will come down and I fear that this would affect the whole round performance of the shop.”
The traders as a whole have a similar opinion on Bill and Rajendran. B, a trader of household utensils at Purasawalkam in Chennai told said, “Really unfortunate. This will make the workers believe that we have been denying them this right. It will take work away from the employees and they will remain lethargic and out of focus including brooding on their spare time.”
It was the Kerala government during the period of Oommen Chandy as Chief Minister and Shibu Baby John as labor minister that an amendment was brought to the Shops and Establishment Act 1964 in Kerala. The state government had then acted after the recommendation of the State Youth Welfare Commission.