Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
As regards the principles on which rates should be fixed, we think that it should prove neither necessary nor desirable to incorporate in the law any theoretical criterion to which such rates should conform, believing that the constitution of the machinery and the operation of the principle of common sense would, in this as in other systems of wage regulation, give due weight both to the human requirements of labour and to the capacity of the industry to meet those requirements. Experience has shown that free discussion round a table by employers' and workers' representatives, under the guidance of an independent chairman, breaks down suspicion and distrust and thus helps to promote an attitude of reasonableness and compromise on both sides, which ultimately leads to an amicable agreement. We believe that the tea industry of Assam would be no exception to this rule.
After the passing of the statute setting up the machinery, the following matters will have to be considered and determined:—
(a) the age at which a worker, male or female, becomes an adult for the purpose of the basic rate,
(b) whether the workers paid by time and those paid by piece should be subject to the same or different basic rates,
(c) whether overtime rates should be payable in respect of work for hours in excess of those constituting a normal " day ";
(d) the system by which any non-able-bodied or sub-ordinary worker should be classified for the purpose of exemption from the operation of the basic rate and his appropriate rate determined;
(e) the best method of dealing with concessions.
As we have shown, concessions vary in quality and quantity and some are not available for a large number of workers. They can be divided into two distinct categories—those supplied to all workers, such as housing, and those supplied only to certain workers, such as land for private cultivation. We consider that, as under the Ceylon scheme, the Board or Boards should avoid assessing any monetary value in the case of concessions coming under the first category, for two reasons. In the first place, such amenities by long standing custom have been provided free of charge to the worker. In the second place, his wage rates are already based on the assumption that the expenditure under this head falls on the employer and that the worker makes no direct contribution. As regards the main concession coming under the second category—namely, land for private cultivation—some managers charge an uneconomic rent, others charge no rent and yet others have no such land at their disposal. It is clear, therefore, that in such cases the Board or Boards will be free to consider how to evaluate such concessions, where granted, and whether they should be related to the statutory wage rate.
Before a final decision is reached as to the basic rates, provision should be made for the proposed rates to be published and for consideration of any objections received within a specified time. After such consideration, the rates as finally approved should be submitted to the local Government for confirmation. The functions of the Board or Boards would here cease, and it would be the duty of the Government, if it con-firms the rates, to give effect to them. Arrangements should, however, be made for annual meetings to afford an opportunity for consideration of the Government report on the working of the machinery, and to consider the necessity for proposing any variations in the rates in operation.