Industries want suspension of most labour laws for 3 years

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Published: May 9, 2020 4:01 AM

Earlier in the week, Uttar Pradesh promulgated an ordinance to exempt industries from various labour laws for three years to revive economic activities.

In a webinar with Union labour minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar on Friday, employers flagged the need for raising daily working hours to 12 hours from 8 hours. (Twitter image/ file)In a webinar with Union labour minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar on Friday, employers flagged the need for raising daily working hours to 12 hours from 8 hours. (Twitter image/ file)

Employers demanded suspension of almost all labour laws barring a few for the next two-three years to help the industry come out of the present crisis arising out of Covid-19 pandemic. In a webinar with Union labour minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar on Friday, employers flagged the need for raising daily working hours to 12 hours from 8 hours.

An official statement issued after the meeting said suggestions given by representatives of the employers’ organisations include the need for suspension of “the labour laws for the next two-three years, except the provisions like minimum wages, bonus and statutory dues, to help the industry to come out of the present crisis”.

Earlier in the week, Uttar Pradesh promulgated an ordinance to exempt industries from various labour laws for three years to revive economic activities.

Employers also requested the government to provide an appropriate package to industries so that the business is sustainable and there is no loss of job opportunities. Also on their ask list was the need for relaxation of the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act to treat the lockdown period as lay-off.

Keeping in view the difficulties being faced by the industry and liquidity crisis, wages paid to workers may be covered under expenses under CSR funds, they said and demanded that the maximum permissible limit for workers’ attendance in workplaces should be enhanced to 50% from 33% now.

Power supply to the industry at subsidised rates and reduction in the social security cost for both employees and employers were also on their demand list.

Not happy with the zone demarcation on the basis of Covid-19 cases, they demanded that there should be only two zones – containment and non-containment – to facilitate easy movement of workers and goods. They requested the government to allow all activities in non-containment zones.

Critising industries’ demands, labour expert KR Shyam Sundar said, “The virus of planned labour reforms following Madhya Pradesh and then Uttar Pradesh is progressively offering more flexibility to employers and the virus is fast spreading to various states, and now it has reached to the national level in order to extract maximum labour flexibility form the government, which is worse than the Covid virus.”

Leading industry bodies, including CII, Ficci and Assocham, took part in the webinar.

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