New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) Newly appointed Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes Thursday said he would deal with labour issues with a 'human heart' and solve problems through dialogue with trade unions.
Fernandes, who took charge of the ministry Thursday, said he would soon start a dialogue with the Left parties, which have been complaining that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was not implementing labour reforms.
'I will study the labour reforms. I will try to deal with labour issues with a human heart and solve the differences though dialogue,' Fernandes told reporters here.
Fernandes, who has been a minister without portfolio in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's cabinet for almost 10 months, takes over the labour ministry at a crucial time. One of the pressing issues he will have to look into is the trade unions' demand of an increase in the employment provident fund (EPF) from the present 8.5 percent while the finance ministry wants to cut the rate further.
The Left parties, which support the Congress-led coalition government from outside, have also demanded a social security scheme for workers in the unorganised sector. Besides, trade unions are asking for a labour policy for the Eleventh Five Year Plan.
Fernandes steps into a post held earlier by Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K. Chandrashekhar Rao, who quit in August this year to protest the UPA government's delay in forming a separate Telangana state. But work at the ministry had come to a virtual standstill several months earlier when Rao stopped attending office regularly.