11th April 2020
The Union Labour Minister
Government of India
Sub: Proposal to make 12 hour working day by the government
A news item appeared in the Hindustan Times today stating that the Government of India is considering changes in the Factories Act,1948 that will alter the existing 8 hour working day to 12 hours. This would mean the normal 48 hour work a week would be hiked to 72 hours a week. It is also being suggested that since there will be fewer hands to work in these days of corona virus as a result of retrenchments, the proposed change in working hours has become necessary. The statement further makes it clear that as there are exceptional circumstances prevailing in the country, exceptional provisions have to be made.
We the undersigned representatives of various trade union organisations strongly oppose this move to increase the number of working hours from eight to twelve as it will put further burden on the workers. In the first place given the present corona virus scenario in the country, it enjoins upon the government to take measures that protects and creates employment and not reduce the workforce. Allowing employers to resort to retrenchments on the one hand and augmenting production on the other are anachronistic and not acceptable. It is true that there are exceptional conditions prevailing in the country and in the world also, but the measures being contemplated by the government run counter to the interests of a whole mass of working people and at the same time serve the interests of employers. At this time it is imperative for government to boost demand in order to revive the economy and therefore create jobs and lift wages.
We would also like to remind government that the 8 hour work day is protected by the ILO Convention No.1 defining a cardinal labour right.
We therefore urge government to ensure that the proposed measures to increase of increasing working hours is not considered any further and set aside.
Gautam Mody Vijay Kumar Sudipta Pal B. Pradeep
General Secretary General Secretary Advisor General Secretary
NTUI AIFTU (New) ECLTSAU IFTU
S.Venkateshwar Rao Kanhai Baranwal Kailash Som Nath
President General Secretary President Secretary
IFTU IFTU (Sarvahara) IMK JSM
Thangaraj Sanjay Singhvi
General Secretary General Secretary