Migrant workers continue to toil under sun

No breather: Migrants engaged in work at a construction site on Wednesday noon in Kozhikode.

No breather: Migrants engaged in work at a construction site on Wednesday noon in Kozhikode.   | Photo Credit: S_RAMESHKURUP

Curbs on working hours yet to benefit labourers on the outskirts of city

The summertime curbs on outdoor work imposed by the Labour Department to prevent sunstroke and sunburn are yet to benefit a large number of migrant labourers in the construction sector on the outskirts of Kozhikode city.

Though the Labour Department claims to be conducting frequent site inspections in urban areas to enforce order, migrant workers in Ramanattukara, Koyilandy, Vadakara, Mukkom and Payyoli municipalities continue to work under the harsh sun.

The squads have so far exposed four such incidents of labourers being employed during the restricted working hours (between 12 noon and 3 p.m.). The cases were all reported from urban areas.

At present, the squads operate under the leadership of seven Assistant Labour Officers, who also have election-related responsibilities. Very often, supervisors at the construction sites get details of the surprise checks in advance and they manage the labour force accordingly to escape legal action.

Within the Ramanattukara municipal area, labourers were found working during the restricted hours at the sites of a few multi-storey residential and commercial buildings. In Vadakara too, migrant workers were found employed in painting high-rise buildings during the restricted working hours. The municipal authorities say they will check with the contractors and report it to the Labour Department.

Some of the labour suppliers have come up with the argument that the labourers are willing to work during the restricted hours as they do not want to begin the job by 7 a.m. and wind up by 7 p.m. In rural areas, a few of the contractors argue that there is no restriction on working hours in hilly areas where the chances of sunstroke are less. However, the Labour Department officials have clarified that only locations 3,000 ft above the sea level are given such exemptions. As per the order issued by the Department on February 26, the restrictions will be in place till April 30.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 5:11:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/migrant-workers-continue-to-toil-under-sun/article26594662.ece

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