UP govt withdraws order forcing 12-hour shifts for industrial workers as Allahabad HC issues notice 

UP Govt

Soon after suspending a number of crucial pro-worker clauses in its Labour Laws, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government seems to have taken a 180 degree turn on a seperate, but crucial order. It has now withdrawn its draconian order of making factory workers slog for 12-hour each shift, as soon as the Allahabad High Court issued a notice. A normal work shift is for 8-hours. A PIL had been filed to challenge the increase of work hours, working for 12 hours under tough factory conditions could have had a disastrous impact on the health of the workers. 


However, as a report by News18 says, this will not have any impact on the  labour laws recently amended by the UP government. The order to increase the working hours was separate from the ordinance amending the labour laws. The UP government had suspended 38 labour laws for the next three years with the Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Laws Ordinance, 2020. The only four laws that remained applicable were: Section 5 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Workmen Compensation Act, 1932, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, and the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996.

The UP government had stated that the suspension of these labour laws, which included laws on safety, and labour welfare was done to boost economic and business activities to restart after they almost ground to a halt in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic) 

At that time, the UP government had  issued a press statement citing their reasons for passing the  Ordinance: “The horticultural and economic activities in the states have been severely affected and slowed down due to the outbreak of Covid-19. This is because businesses and economic activities came to a halt more or less due to the national lockdown,”. 

( The detailed Hindi version can be read here:  http://information.up.nic.in/attachments/CabinetDecisionfile/7c223b50d3fdc5a2c4a53863012ed0b0.pdf )

However, the proposal to increase working hours for employees of industrial units was through a separate executive order, this is the one which has now been withdrawn after the Allahabad HC issues notice in PIL challenging it.

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) had denounced the Ordinance, and said enable factory owners “to impose conditions of slavery on the working people”. 

According to legal news portal Barandbench, “the Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Siddhartha Varma issued the notice in a PIL moved by the Uttar Pradesh Worker Front through its president Dinker Kapoor. Advocates Pranjal Shukla and Vinayak Mithal appeared for the petitioner. “ The matter is listed for further hearing on May 18, via video conference.

A similar move in favour of business and factory owners had  been announced In Madhya Pradesh too,  Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan government has issued exemptions from almost all provisions of the Factories Act, 1948 for a “1000 days”. 

According to CITU,  the Gujarat Govt had “pioneered to unilaterally expand the daily-working hours from eight hours to 12 hours.”


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