Trade unions may move International Labour Organisation against labour law changes

This move was the second phase of anti-worker policies, they allege.

Ten central trade unions on May 11 said they were considering lodging a complaint with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) against the “anti-worker” changes in the labour laws in some States, which they said was at the “instance of the Central government”.

In a joint statement, they said the recent blanket exemption given to establishments from the employer’s obligations under several labour laws for three years by the Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh governments was a retrograde and anti-worker move. While the U.P. government had brought an ordinance for this, the M.P. government had reportedly said it would also do the same. The Gujarat government was also reportedly working on a similar exemption.

“As the mass of the working people have been subjected to inhuman sufferings owing to loss of jobs, loss of wages, eviction from residences etc reducing them to hungry non-entities in the process of 45 days lockdown, the government of the day at the Centre has pounced upon those working people..Now the government at the Centre has taken the strategy of letting loose their pliant state governments to take such anti-worker and anti-people autocratic measures, many other state governments are expected to follow suit,” the statement said.

This move was the second phase of anti-worker policies after six State governments increased the working hours form eight to 12 hours, it stated.

“Central trade unions consider these moves as an inhuman crime and brutality on the working people, besides being gross violation of the Right to Freedom of Association [ILO Convention 87], Rights to Collective Bargaining [ILO Convention 98] and also the internationally accepted norm of eight hour working day – espoused by core conventions of ILO. The ILO Convention 144 in regard to tripartism has also been undermined by the government,” it said.

The unions added that they were “seriously considering to lodge a complaint to the ILO on these misdeeds of the government for gross violation of labour standards” and that they would soon give a nationwide call to action.

The statement was signed by representatives of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, the All-India Trade Union Congress, the Hind Mazdoor Sabha, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, the All-India United Trade Union Centre, the Trade Union Coordination Committee, the Self Employed Women’s Association, the All-India Central Council of Trade Unions, the Labour Progressive Federation and the United Trade Union Congress.

With inputs from The Hindu