The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday has withdrawn its controversial order of 12-hour shifts for workers in industrial units, against the usual 8-hour day, after a notice from the Allahabad High Court. However, its recently issued ordinance to exempt establishments in the state from all labour laws but four remains unchanged.
A separate government order related to working hours has been withdrawn following a PIL in the high court, shows a note, dated May 15, and signed by Suresh Chand, principal secretary of labour in the Uttar Pradesh government to the Allahabad high court for information.
On May 8,2020, the Uttar Pradesh government, has, through an ordinance suspended a total of 38 labour laws and only four laws will continue to be applicable in the state, including the Section 5 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Workmen Compensation Act, 1932, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, and the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996.
These laws included provisions related to working hours, overtime, intervals for rest, etc. as stipulated under Sections 51, 54, 56 and 59 of the Factories Act, until July 19, 2020.
As per that notification, Factories were permitted to employ their labour/ workers for 12 hours a day, instead of 8 hours as stipulated under the Act.
An official statement said the decision to exempt businesses from the purview of almost all labour laws was taken as economic and business activities in the state have been badly affected by the coronavirus spread.
However, an increase in working hours in industrial units was through a separate executive order which now stands withdrawn.
Many trade unions, including RSS-affiliated BMS, had threatened agitation against BJP-ruled states like UP, Gujarat and MP who have in the last fortnight brought in sweeping changes in the labour laws through ordinance route.
Assailing the same, the UP Worker’s Front, through Advocates Pranjal Shukla and Vinayak Mittal had moved the High Court, stating that the same violates Constitutional values.
The Allahabad High Court on Thursday issued notice to the UP Government in a PIL challenging the Government order for relaxation of certain labour laws, particularly the provisions of the Factories Act, 1948, in the state.
The matter was heard by the bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Siddhartha Varma, which issued notice to the Government and posted the matter for consideration on May 18.