Surprise checks by the Labour Department in Kerala have revealed alleged large-scale flouting of labour laws by two well-known private finance companies in the state. The inspections were done on the 148 branches of Kosamattam Finance and 66 outlets of Indel Money - both gold loan companies. Officials of the Labour Department spoke to 807 staff employed by these firms when it allegedly became clear that close to 66 of these employed were denied minimum wages.
Further, the staff of these companies were also not allegedly allowed festival holidays, maternity leave, paid leave during elections etc - all of which are granted as per the labour laws.
In many places, the wage security of employees is not guaranteed as they are not covered by the wage protection scheme. These branches were also found to have allegedly violated several Acts, such as the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Act 1960, described as an Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the regulation of conditions of work and employment in shops and commercial establishments in the state of Kerala, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 that sets the minimum wages for both skilled and unskilled labour, the Equal Remuneration Act 1976, which aims to provide for the payment of equal remuneration to men and women workers and for the prevention of discrimination, and the State Labour Act.
The Commission of Labour, CV Sajan, said that the alleged violations of law by these companies would be addressed, a notice would be issued and legal action would be taken against the firms. Regional Joint Labour Commissioners and District Labour Officers led the investigation on the gold loan companies' branches, under the leadership of K Srilal, Additional Labour Commissioner (Enforcement).