Labourers work in a utensil manufacturing factory in Jammu
JAIPUR/NEW DELHI: Human resources experts, trade unions and civil society groups have lauded the Rajasthan government’s decision on Sunday to revert to 8-hour shifts in all registered factories in the state instead of 12-hour duty as mandated earlier to make up for the loss of labour-hours due to the Covid-induced lockdown.
“Good sense has prevailed over the government” as it would have adversely affected the health, immunity and emotional stability of workers and would have led to their further exploitation, they said.
Trade unions have welcomed the move, which comes days after UP rescinded a similar directive. AITUC said: “Economy would pick up if workers, the key components to provide their labour be it skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled in manufacturing, productions, and services are taken on board for ensuring them justice for workplace safety, health measures, proper wages, eight hours of working as per existing norms and social security coverage,” it said.
The decision of the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government comes after AICC accused the Centre of diluting labour laws and also blamed some BJP-run state governments. The Rajasthan government order was issued on April 11.
“It was done amid the Covid-19 crisis. It is a health issue. If you have more working hours then it adversely affects three things — emotional stability, health and immunity. It makes no sense to increase the working hours. The second aspect was that the mandatory recess was being given after 6 hours. It was very taxing for the workers. Even for three months, this order was unacceptable,” said Ashok Khandelwal, who is an expert on labour laws and an ex-faculty of VV Giri Labour Institute.
“Moreover, this would have led to monetary loss for the workers as their wage would not have increased proportionately… Any kind of labour reform should not increase exploitation,” he added.