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Compilation suspension of labour law regulations in india in 2020 as on 16th may

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There has been an accelerating trend over the last years towards a dilution of necessary labour laws in India. The economic downturn in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has given states an excuse to overhaul them without reason or process. This is a compilation of resources relating to the suspension of labour law regulations in India in 2020 as on 16th May, 2020.

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Compilation suspension of labour law regulations in india in 2020 as on 16th may

  1. 1. Winnu Das: winnudas@gmail.com A compilation of information and resources on suspension of labour law regulations in India in 2020 as on 16th May, 2020 There has been an accelerating trend over the last years towards a dilution of necessary labour laws in India. The economic downturn in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has given states an excuse to overhaul them without reason or process. The Central trade unions consider the current changes a violation of the ILO convention on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work which was adopted by India in 1998. They are considering approaching the ILO regarding this matter. [https://wap.business- standard.com/article-amp/economy-policy/labour-law-changes-in-india-should-adhere-to-global- standards-ilo-120051301663_1.html] and are planning a strike [https://www.firstpost.com/health/trade-unions-to-go-on-strike-on-22-may-to-protest-against-labour- laws-suspension-seek-immediate-relief-to-stranded-workers-8372381.html]. Increases in working hours are not as per the Factories Act provisions and also violate the ILO Hours of Work Convention to which India is a signatory (https://www.indiatoday.in/news- analysis/story/coronavirus-lockdown-labour-reforms-migrant-workers-1678324-2020-05-15) ___________________________________________________________________________ This article [https://scroll.in/article/961555/the-need-for-labour-reforms-must-not-be-conflated-with- complete-deregulation?fbclid=IwAR1WKk2kGWgEL_JLAWkegiyRHHK- brSbshmO7mvVuQZ0AA7411uoiGFsRhM] maps some of these changes to violations of fundamental rights. 1. Non-payment of minimum wage is a violation of Article 23 (it is forced labour); 2. Work without safe and decent conditions is a violation of Article 21. ___________________________________________________________________________ There is currently a PIL in the Supreme Court against the measures taken by the Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh governments. This PIL argues that the suspension of the laws was an illegal use of section 5 of the Factories Act. [https://www.firstpost.com/india/coronavirus-outbreak- pil-filed-in-sc-against-gujarat-up-and-mp-govts-decision-to-exempt-industrial-units-from-labour- welfare-law-8369181.html] ___________________________________________________________________________ The Uttar Pradesh Government passed the Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Laws Ordinance, 2020 [Only in Hindi: http://information.up.nic.in/attachments/CabinetDecisionfile/7c223b50d3fdc5a2c4a53863012e d0b0.pdf]. It has been sent for Presidential approval (which is necessary since it restricts the application of central level labour laws). This ordinance seeks to suspended all labour laws except: 1. Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976; 2. Employee Compensation Act, 1923 Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996 3. Section 5 of Payment of Wages Act, 1936: This section is about the timely payment of wages. However, it means little given that there is no minimum wage. All other laws have been suspended including those on minimum wages, bonus and gratuity, maternity benefits, industrial disputes and union action such as strikes (Industrial Disputes Act), union
  2. 2. Winnu Das: winnudas@gmail.com registration, operational health and safety (Factories Act), working hours (Factories Act), child labour prohibition, contract labour, inter-state migrant workers, equal remuneration. ___________________________________________________________________________ The Gujarat Government has passed an Ordinance that would exempt all new businesses from most labour laws for 1200 days. The new firms will be exempt from all labour laws, except the Minimum Wages, Act, the Employee Compensation Act and safety-related rules in factories. The Ordinance is awaiting the approval of the President. [https://www.business- standard.com/article/economy-policy/gujarat-s-labour-law-exemption-ordinance-sent-for-president-s- assent-120051501486_1.html] ___________________________________________________________________________ The Madhya Pradesh government: 1. Has suspended the state act on Industrial Relations [page 9 https://prsindia.org/files/covid19/notifications/4989.MP_exemptions%20under%20labour%20laws_ May05.pdf.] for 11 sectors: textile, leather, cement, iron and steel, electrical goods and sugar, electricity, public motor transport, engineering, including manufacturing of motor vehicles. This Act provides for recognition of Representative Unions and protections for employees who strike. [https://indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/12745/1/the_madhya_pradesh_industrial_act_19 60%2Cno.27_of_1960_date_31.12.1960.pdf] 2. Has exempted new establishments from the Industrial Relations Act [the provisions relating to retrenchment, closing down and the penalties for both] for the 1000 days [page 7: https://prsindia.org/files/covid19/notifications/4989.MP_exemptions%20under%20labour%20laws _May05.pdf] 3. Suspended safety regulations at factories for three months 4. Modified the Contract Labour licences [page 3: https://prsindia.org/files/covid19/notifications/4989.MP_exemptions%20under%20labour%20laws _May05.pdf] 5. Suspended inspection for factories with less than 50 workers. [page 5 https://prsindia.org/files/covid19/notifications/4989.MP_exemptions%20under%20labour%20laws_ May05.pdf.] [On the changes in Madhya Pradesh: https://clllnujs.wordpress.com/2020/05/15/demystifying-the- changes-to-labour-laws-in-states-madhya- pradesh/?fbclid=IwAR0XWa1E9kk07kgNwVs6GQod_GGXCBy0KmRQJcrBU4uxhoHV7yiGT2Za LLQ] ___________________________________________________________________________ PRS India [https://www.prsindia.org/theprsblog/relaxation-labour-laws-across-states] has written an article on the changes across states.
  3. 3. Winnu Das: winnudas@gmail.com Working Hours [taken from PRS India] State Establishments Maximum weekly work hours Maximum daily work hours Overtime Pay Time period Gujarat All factories Increased from 48 hours to 72 hours Increased from 9 hours to 12 hours Not required [wages to be paid in proportion: ex.Rs. 80/8hrs then Rs. 120/12hrs] Three months Himachal Pradesh All factories Increased from 48 hours to 72 hours Increased from 9 hours to 12 hours Required Three months Rajasthan All factories distributing essential goods and manufacturing essential goods and food Increased from 48 hours to 72 hours Increased from 9 hours to 12 hours Required Three months Haryana All factories Not specified Increased from 9 hours to 12 hours Required Two months Uttarakhand [Order is in Hindi only] All factories and continuous process industries that are allowed to function by government Maximum 6 days of work a week Two shifts of 12 hours each. Required Three months Uttar Pradesh All factories Increased from 48 hours to 72 hours Increased from 9 hours to 12 hours Not Required Three months This was suspended after a notice by the Allahabad High Court. [https://www.news18.com/news/india/up-govt-withdraws-controversial-order-of-12-hour- shifts-for-industrial-unit-workers-after-notice-from-allahabad-hc-2622415.html] Madhya Pradesh All factories Not specified Not specified Not specified Three months ___________________________________________________________________________ There are also issues relating to data security and privacy of workers due to employers making the Aarogya Setu app mandatory [https://www.article-14.com/post/what-to-go-back-to-work-download- aarogya-setu]. Section 13 of the The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 [https://www.prsindia.org/sites/default/files/bill_files/Personal%20Data%20Protection%20Bill%2C% 202019.pdf] allows employers to process and hold information about employees and this may have some issues as well.

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