Workers are subjected to harsh conditions that result in their deterioration as human beings. The Motor Transport Workers Act 1961 deals with the environment in which workers perform their duties and provides guidelines for it. The Parliament enacted it to include this class within the umbrella of social justice.
The Motor Transport Workers Act has provided the basic amenities necessary for any worker engaged in any work. It gives a broad description of such facilities, their conditions, and their inspection. The MTW Act also provides reasonable punishments and penalties for violating its provisions.
Table of Contents
About the Motor Transport Workers Act 1961
Parliament enacted the MTW Act in the 12th year of the Republic. It is composed of 40 Sections across 9 Chapters. Each chapter deals with a vital subject as per this act. It was enacted on 20th May 1961 and came into force on different dates in different states in 1962, provided the enforcement date was before 31st March 1962.
The preamble of the MTW Act states its objectives, these are-
- For the welfare of Motor Transport Workers
- For the regulation of conditions of their work
As per Section 1(4) of the MTW Act, every motor transport undertaking five or more motor transport workers shall come under the purview of this act.
Registration Under the Motor Transport Workers Act
Section 3 under Chapter II of the MTW Act provides for registering motor transport undertakings and their procedures.
- Every undertaking shall register under this act that comes under the purview of this act.
- By application to the prescribed authority, the employer applies for registration in such form and time as specified.
- When an undertaking has successfully registered as per the MTW Act, a certificate shall be issued to the employer by the authority.
Inspections Under the Motor Transport Workers Act
Chapter III of the MTW Act provides for the Inspecting Staff and their powers.
Section 4 describes that there shall be a Chief Inspector and various Inspectors for each State. It further provides-
- The State Government, notifying through the Official Gazette, shall appoint a qualified person to act as the Chief Inspector and other such persons as Inspectors subordinate to him.
- The Chief Inspector declares the local limits for the operation of subordinate Inspectors. The Chief Inspector can act as an Inspector himself.
- All the Chief Inspectors and Inspectors are public servants according to Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code.
Section 5 describes the powers of the Inspecting Staff. The Inspecting Staff can-
- Stop any transport vehicle to make examinations and inquiries as they deem fit for the observation of the provisions of the MTW Act.
- Inspect and search by entering the premises of a motor transport undertaking.
- Ask for registers and documents made as per this act and can examine any worker.
- Can copy or seize such documents as they may deem relevant concerning an offence.
- Exercise, as prescribed, such other powers.
Section 6 says that the employer shall afford all reasonable facilities to the Inspecting Staff.
Section 7 gives the State government power to appoint medical practitioners to certify the examinations of the workers’ health.
Welfare And Health of the Workers as per the MTW Act
Chapter IV of the MTW Act provides for the basic facilities of the workers in a motor transport undertaking.
Section 8 provides for the rules regarding canteens in a motor transport undertaking. One canteen should be provided for the workers, where every day at least hundred or more workers come for duty for every project.
The State Government has the power to make rules for canteens, including their establishment date, number of canteens and the standards of construction, furniture, accommodation and any other equipment; charges of the foodstuffs; and the managing committee for the representation of workers.
Section 9 provides for the rules for restrooms. In undertakings where workers has to halt at night, the employer shall provide a reasonable number of rest rooms or other accommodations. The accommodations shall have proper lights and ventilation systems.
The State Government prescribes the standards for the particulars of accommodation.
Section 10 of the act gives State Governments power to make regulations for the workers’ uniform. The employer shall provide different uniforms for different workers. Also, he shall give allowance to the workers for washing the uniforms if the employer does not bear for the same himself.
Section 11 states that the employer shall provide readily available medical aid to its workers as prescribed by the State Government.
Section 12 lays down provisions for First-aid facilities in the undertakings. The aid shall be readily accessible during working hours. The first aid box is to be in charge of either the driver or the conductor of the transport vehicle.
Working Hours and Limitations
Chapter V of the MTW Act deals with Hours and Limitations of Employment.
Section 13– Adult motor transport workers should not work more than eight hours. When a worker has to run a motor vehicle over long distances or during some special occasion, the worker shall not work more than ten hours a day and not more than fifty-four hours a week.
Also, in few circumstances, the employer can work more than forty-eight hours a week.
Section 14– No adult motor transport worker between 10 PM and 6 AM shall work more than six hours, including an interval of half an hour.
Section 15– The workers are entitled to take a break of at least half an hour after working for not more than five consecutive hours.
Every worker shall get a break of nine consecutive hours between the end and the the start of the shift.
Section 17– A worker cannot split his duty for more than two spells on any day.
Young Employees Under The MTW Act
Chapter VI of the MTW Act provides rules for the employment of Young Persons.
Section 21– No child (person below the age of fourteen years) shall be employed.
Section 22– Adolescents shall be granted a certificate of fitness, as per Section 23 and must carry tokens as a reference.
Section 24– Power of the inspector to call for a medical examination of an adolescent worker without a certificate of fitness.
Wages And Leave Under The Motor Transport Workers Act
Chapter VII of the MTW Act gives provisions regarding the Wages and Leave of the workers.
Section 25– The Payment of Wages Act 1936 shall apply to motor transport workers.
Section 26– Every worker is entitled to extra wages for extra duty.
Moreover, a worker is entitled to twice the wages if he works overtime.
Section 27– An adult worker is entitled to annual leave with wages. One day leave shall be counted for every twenty days of work.
For an adolescent worker, one day leave should be counted every fifteen days.
Penalties Under The Motor Transport Workers Act
Chapter VIII of the MTW Act lays down the Penalties and Procedure.
Section 29– A person who obstructs an Inspecting Staff operating under this act, refuses to afford reasonable facility regarding any inspection or examination; whoever refuses to produce documents as per this act to any inspecting staff, or prevents or attempts to prevent any person from appearing before an inquiry, is liable to be punished with imprisonment extending to three months, or with fine extending to five hundred rupees or both.
Section 30– Whoever uses a false certificate of fitness, uses someone else certificate, or lets some other person use his is liable to be punished with imprisonment extending to one month, a fine up to fifty rupees, or both.
Section 31– Contravention of provisions relating to employment of workers is punishable with imprisonment extending to three months, a fine up to five hundred rupees, or both. In case of subsequent contravention, an additional penalty of seventy-five rupees every following day.
Section 33– A person who commits an offence again, for which he has already sentenced, shall be liable to be punished with imprisonment extending to six months, a fine up to one thousand rupees, or both.
The Motor Transport Workers Act 1961 provides steps that the employer should take for his workers. The workers are also human beings and should be given humane conditions and facilities at all workplaces. This legislation has provided essential rights and facilities to motor transport workers.
FAQs on Motor Transport Workers Act 1961
What is the objective behind the MTW Act?
The legislation aims to provide better working conditions and basic facilities to workers.
Who is a child under the MTW Act?
A person who has not attained the age of fourteen is a child, as per the MTW Act.
What facilities should an employer give to its employees under the MTW Act?
The employer shall provide canteens, rest rooms, uniforms, medical aid, first-aid, extra wages for overtime, etc., to its employees.
What are the working hours for a worker under the MTW Act?
Working hours under this act are six hours a day and forty-eight hours a week.