Eight political parties pan dilution of labour laws

Write a joint letter to President

Updated - May 08, 2020 10:40 pm IST

Published - May 08, 2020 10:36 pm IST - New Delhi

President Ram Nath Kovind. File

President Ram Nath Kovind. File

Eight political parties have written to President Ramnath Kovind protesting the dilution of labour laws , including extending the daily working hours from eight to twelve in six States, on the pretext of battling the COVID-19 pandemic .

The joint letter, signed by CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary D. Raja, CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattarcharya, All-India Forward Bloc general secretary Debabrata Biswas, Revolutionary Socialist Party general secretary Manoj Bhattacharya, RJD MP Manoj Jha, Sharad Yadav’s Lok Jantantrik Party, and president of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi Thol. Thirumavalavan, said the workers are being treated as slaves.

Also read: U.P. clears ordinance exempting businesses from labour laws

“Reducing them to this status is not merely a violation of the Constitution, but its nullification,” they said.

Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab have extended the working hours from eight to 12 without amending the Factories Act. The parties said others States are likely to join this list.

Uttar Pradesh has suspended all labour laws, except three, for a period of three years.

The Madhya Pradesh government, similarly, announced a Cabinet decision to exempt all establishments from obligations under all labour laws for a thousand days.

Also read: Coronavirus lockdown | Centre urges unions to convince labour to stay, return to work

‘Centre has done little’

“Diluting labour rights seems to be the logic employed by your government at the Centre and by some State governments, rather than concentrating on fighting the pandemic by augmenting our health facilities and protecting our doctors and health workers and taking care of the people’s requirements,” the letter said.

The parties said the Indian economy was already in a tailspin, hurtling towards a recession even before the pandemic. The government has done precious little to help those whose livelihoods were affected, as 14 crore workers have lost their jobs since the lockdown began, they said.

“Surely, you will agree that India cannot have more deaths due to hunger, starvation, poverty and deprivation than those infected by this deadly virus,” stated the memorandum.

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