I am writing in response to the article entitled `Condemn laws allowing 12-hour shift’ carried on the web-site of the CGPI which has been posted in May 2020. I would like to join you in the protest against this barbaric act by the various governments against the length and breadth of the country. It is obvious that the capitalists have capitalized on the crisis situation prevailing in the country due to the Covid-19 related lockdown that started in the month of March 2020. As it is the working people are reeling under the shock of the lockdown and now this.
The article points out the following salient points:
- that the basic right codified in the Factories Act of 1948 limited the number of hours in a week to 48, and now this is revised to 72,
- that the Gujarat Government was the first to issue an ordinance for the period 29-4-2020 to 19-7-2020,
- that the break of 30 minutes after 6 hours is a totally inhuman break, in contrast to 30 minutes after 5 hours earlier,
- that the overtime wages will be single, in contrast to what was double,
- that the Rajasthan Government followed suit with some differences compared to Gujarat,
- as did the Governments of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, all under the pretext of the requirement of smaller workforce due to Covid emergency,
- that the MP and UP Governments have suspended laws for 3 years.
It is significant, as explained in the article, that the suggestions came from the Central Secretaries to have 12 hour work days, and expecting resistance, the Covid period has been used by State Governments to carry out these changes. These are diabolical activities and completely against any civilized norm. The protection provided to workers by trade unions have been completely circumvented.
These activities represent a major rolling back of rights won by workers over centuries of struggle. Just because in the unorganized sector workers are exploited and dehumanized, it does not mean that the same thing has to be done in the organized sector.
I completely support your condemnation of the 12 hour work-day.