Opposition protests dilution of labour laws; writes to President

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 08, 2020 Published on May 08, 2020

Opposition party leaders of seven parties, such as Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Manoj Jha and Thol Thirumavalavan, have written to President Ramnath Kovind against the nullification of the labour laws and the “hard-won democratic rights” of people in the name of fighting Covid-19.

The parties said on the pretext of battling the pandemic, drastic changes are being made to existing labour laws jeopardising the livelihood of the working people. “Already the country is witness to the most inhuman tragic dimensions of the plight of the migrant works since the national lockdown has been enforced. Far from protecting the fundamental right to life and dignity, today’s conditions are barbaric. Last night, sixteen migrant workers, forced to walk thousands of km back to their homes, were crushed to death by a goods train in Maharashtra. The easing of restrictions has not been accompanied by the required safety measures and environmental concerns. Such negligence has led to the Visakhapatnam industrial accident claiming 12 lives and leaving hundreds hospitalised. The concerns for the safety and survival of the workers is grossly neglected by ‘your government’. Such is the state of affairs in our country,” the letter said.

They said working hours have been increased to 12 hours through executive orders in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab without amending the Factories Act. “Some others are likely to join this growing list. Uttar Pradesh has suspended labour laws, except three, for three years. Madhya Pradesh has exempted all establishments from labour law obligations for thousand days. The fundamental right of workers to organise themselves into unions is also being gravely threatened,” they said.

Published on May 08, 2020

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