Dilution of labour rights & protection condemnable: Trade Unions

A joint platform of central trade unions, federations and associations have roundly criticised the total exemption to employers from all labour laws in UP and MP and serious dilution of obligations under labour laws in some states.



Apart from the devastation caused by the COVID 19 pandemic to vast sections of the semi-organised, unorganised and even organized sections of labour in the country, the move through an Ordinance to allow blanket exemptions to employees to any form of labour rights protection has been strongly denounced by a joint platform of unions, federations and associations. The Ordinance brought in as an ‘Emergency’ measure is completely uncalled for and an abuse of the lockdown. All establishments  have been exempt from the employers’ obligation under all substantive labour laws for a period of three years by the state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

In UP already the Ordinance in this regard has been promulgated and as similar Ordinance is going to be passed in Madhya Pradesh, according to media reports from the chief minister, Shivrajsingh Chauhan’s briefing. A similar move of ‘liberating’ the employers from all labour laws is soon to be initiated in Gujarat also for a period of 1200 days, i.e., more than three years.

The outcome of the COVID 19 pandemic has meant that a large section of the Indian working people have been subjected to inhuman sufferings owing to loss of jobs, loss of wages, eviction from residences etc reducing them to hungry non-entities in the process of 45 days lockdown. Instead of democratically representing their case and ensuring re-distribution of resources towards this section, the government of the day at the Centre

has “pounced upon those working people only with fangs and claws to reduce them to the stature of virtual slaves. In desperation the migrant workers have been walking for several hundreds of miles on roads, on railway tracks, through fields and jungles to reach their homes with several precious lives lost on the way due to hunger, exhaustion and


 This statement has been issued by the INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC

TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC together with the Federations and Associations of various sectors

Apart from the move by the Modi-Shah led central government, state governments ruled by the same party have followed suit. The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister has announced the decision to exempt the employers from their substantive

obligations under various labour laws like Factories Act, Madhya Pradesh Industrial Relations Act and Industrial Disputes Act, Contract Labour Act etc through appropriate amendments by executive order or Ordinance for a period of 1000 days, i.e., three years empowering the employers to hire and fire workers “at their convenience”; and there will be no labour department’s intervention in the establishments during the said period. Not only that, the employers were also exempted from payment of Rs 80/- per labourer to Madhya Pradesh Labour Welfare Board. Similarly the Uttar Pradesh Government has already issued an Ordinance to exempting all establishments in the state from all

38 labour laws in vogue in the state for a period of three years barring four.

These retrograde ‘anti-worker’ moves have come in during the second stage after six state governments have enhanced the daily working hours from eight hours to 12 hours through executive order in violation of the Factories Act, taking advantage of thelockdown situation.

Media reports also suggest that the BJP government of Tripura is also making similar move.

The Central Trade Unions consider these moves as “inhuman crimes and brutality (unleashed) on the working people, besides being a gross violation of the Right to Freedom of Association(ILO Convention 87), Rights to Collective Bargaining( ILO

Convention 98) and also the internationally accepted norm of eight hour working day – espoused by Core Conventions of International Labour Organisation (ILO). The ILO Convention 144 in regard to Tripartism has also been undermined by this Government.

The Unions statement also states that they are seriously considering lodging a complaint to ILO on these misdeeds of the Government for the gross violation of Labour Standards.

This platform of Central Trade Unions has also called upon the working class to “oppose these designs of imposing slavery on the workers and employees in the interests of the employers’ class through united agitation and prepare for countrywide resistance struggle both at workplace level and at national level. We note with satisfaction that

unions in the states are already on agitation path independently and unitedly and soon the CTUs would give a nationwide call of action.”




Related Articles