NHRC notice to Centre over ‘anti-labour practices’ at warehouse in Haryana

Reportedly, the multinational company in Manesar has also encountered similar accusations internationally

Updated - June 19, 2024 11:14 pm IST

Published - June 19, 2024 01:43 pm IST - New Delhi

The NHRC has observed that the content of a news report, if true, raises a serious issue of human rights of the workers in violation of the labour laws and the guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment from time to time.

The NHRC has observed that the content of a news report, if true, raises a serious issue of human rights of the workers in violation of the labour laws and the guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment from time to time. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The National Human Right Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued notice to the Centre over reports that one of the warehouses of a multinational company in Haryana’s Manesar is asking its employees to take a pledge that they would not take toilet or water breaks until they finished unloading packages from six trucks, each measuring 24 feet long, after their team’s 30-minute tea break had ended.

As per the reports, one of the workers, who works 10 hours a day for five days a week and earns ₹10,088 per month, stated that even if they work continuously without breaks, including the 30-minute lunch and tea breaks, they cannot unload more than four trucks per day. A woman worker also claimed that she keeps standing for nine hours daily and is required to evaluate 60 small products or 40 medium-sized products per hour during duty. Reportedly, the multinational company has also encountered similar accusations internationally.

The Commission has observed that if true, the report raises a serious issue of human rights of the workers in violation of the labour laws and the guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment from time to time. Accordingly, the Commission has issued notice to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Labour and Employment calling for a detailed report on the matter within a week.

Limited enforcement

Reportedly, the labour associations in India have accused five warehouses in and around Manesar of violating regulations outlined in the Factories Act, 1948. While labour inspectors can demand corrections, there is limited enforcement.

Issuing the notice, the Commission has also noted that the government has been insisting on improving workers’ living standards. Apart from ensuring proper payment of minimum wages to the workers, government schemes have been introduced to provide social security for the labourers, including a safe working environment, safety gear in hazardous working conditions, medical insurance and free annual health check-ups of the workers by the employers. A scheme was started “Shramev Jayate” in the year 2014 targeting the country’s growth and maximum benefit to the workers. The Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, 2017 also came into effect to increase the paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. 

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