After HC notice, UP withdraws order extending working shifts to 12 hrs in manufacturing units | India News

NEW DELHI: The Uttar Pradesh government has withdrawn its order increasing daily work hour shifts from the existing 8 hours to 12 hours in manufacturing units, a day after the Allahabad High Court issued a notice to the state on a PIL which challenged the decision.
On May 15, the state government, in an order signed by Principal Secretary (Labour) Suresh Chandra, directed the state counsel to inform the High Court in the next hearing on May 18 that the controversial order stands withdrawn.
On May 8, the UP government had ordered increase in duration of working shifts to 12 hours by diluting certain sections of the Factories Act of 1948. The order had also said payment for additional hours of work will be “in proportion of the existing wages”, a clause that was opposed by trade unions on grounds that any overtime should be “double” the wages.
Speaking to TOI, AITUC general secretary Amarjeet Kaur said, “Ten states have increased working hours from 8 to 12 hours. UP’s hurried withdrawal after the decision was challenged in court will prompt other states to follow suit. We have also written to the International Labour Organisation in this regard, and it has said in a statement that the state government’s decision is in contravention of the ILO convention, to which India is a signatory.”
The withdrawal of the labour department’s order, however, has no bearing on the ‘Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Laws Ordinance, 2020’, which seeks to put all but three labour laws in the state in abeyance for three years, and increasing daily work hours to 10 hours.
In the ordinance, UP has invoked Section 5 of the Factories Act which is called in during national emergencies or war situations. Here too, UP has provisioned for payment for extra hours in proportion to existing wages, instead of double wages as has been done by states like Punjab and Rajasthan.
Other states which have diluted their labour laws to encourage economic activity in the wake of coronavirus-triggered lockdown include Maharasthra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, MP, Uttarakhand, Assam, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

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