Tougher penalties empower noon-break regulation

FAR-REACHING decisions, as those taken by ministries or civic authorities, should always factor the interests of all sections on which such orders would be binding.

By Catch Of The Day

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Published: Sat 22 Jul 2006, 10:41 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:16 PM

However, it is not abnormal to encounter a contradiction of interests of different sections involved when a decision is implemented. As such, keeping any fallout in check is imperative when a new system is tested out.

Thus, we think that the Ministry of Labour's move to freeze its order stipulating suspension of labour permit applications of companies found in breach of the midday break rule may be seen by potential violators as a sign of thawing resolve in the ministry.

Agreed, the Ministry of Labour has retained two penalties — relegating errant companies to category C, and imposing tough fines — to maintain sufficient deterrence. Going by the request of certain companies to be allowed to pay fines and be allowed to carry on work during the ban hours, however, one feels that they are cock-sure of making greater returns working through the ban hours than when enforcing the noon break.

The logic of keeping workers safe from the burning sun should be accorded priority than the purported inability of companies to operate beneficially, especially in the wake of newspaper reports of workers collapsing under the unrelenting sun.

Therefore, we would request the Ministry of Labour to desist from any steps that may be interpreted wrongly by certain contracting companies and be twisted to suit their purpose of flouting the noon-break rule.

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