Indian Trade unions condemn working hours increase

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Source: Southasiasphere: Issue #5, 15 May 2020 (Himal Southasian)

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 16 May 2020: Many of India’s states have increased the working hours to a maximum of 12 hours each day (current 8 hours) or 72 hours in a week in establishments. Trade unions have condemned it and called it ant-labor.

THE All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), United Trade Union Congress (UTUC) and Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) issued a statement on May 1, 2020, on the issue.

The statement raises important questions about diminishing labor rights in India. It strongly condemns the anti-worker measure of increasing the working hours from 8 to 12 by the notifications of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh governments during the Covid-19 lockdown. Covid-19, the statement says, is being used as an instrument to oppress workers.

Further, the statement opposes the attempt of the Central Government to codify the labor laws and hence eliminate the worker’s right to organize for collective bargaining or to go on strike. It goes on to say reduced wages and miserable working conditions are degrading workers into a state of slavery.

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