New Occupational Safety Rules will cost over 40 lakh jobs, says Congress

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 23, 2020

Rules allow for 12-hour shifts and legalise a new form of slavery, it says

“Economic slavery of the labour and working class” that was Congress’s description for the New Occupational Safety and Working Conditions Rules framed for the relevant labour code and claimed that the rules will cost the organised sector over 41 lakh job.

In a statement, party general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala said Rule 28 which provides for 12-hour shifts for factory workers will have a detrimental effect on their health and family life as also render one-third of the current workforce redundant.

“Industry will now opt for two shifts instead of the current pattern of three shifts. As per the latest Annual Survey of Industries, there were approximately 1.22 crore individual workers employed in organised sector factories in India. However, with the stretched working hours now allowed, one-third or more than approximately 40.65 lakh workers will be rendered jobless,” said Surjewala.

“Under Rule 56, The Government has proposed a long list of exceptions where the employer can force the workmen to work beyond 12 hours per day. These are nothing but weapons to legalise a new form of slavery in India as the poor and vulnerable sections will be free to be exploited at the hands of the factory/mill owners. The exceptions where a workman can be compelled to work beyond 12 hours include ambiguous situations such as repairs, preparatory works, technical reasons, manufacturing of necessary items, engine room/boiler works, loading/unloading of wagons, urgent work etc,” he said.

The Congress leader also pointed out that the much-needed database for migrant workers has been given a go-by in the Rules.

Migrant workers

“On September 14, the BJP Government played a cruel joke on our migrant workers. When a question was asked in Parliament on whether the Government has provided any compensation/economic assistance to the victims’ families and whether the Government has done any assessment of the job losses among migrant workers due to the Covid-19 crisis, the Government stated that no such data is maintained. The decision not to include any provision for such a database even in the new Rules despite the suffering faced by the migrants during the lockdown confirms the fact that the poor and hardworking are the last priority of the BJP Government,” Surjewala said.

Published on November 23, 2020

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