A POLITICAL DECISION:- SUSPENSION OF LABOUR LAWS (PART 1)
“Labour law mediates the relationship between workers, employing entities, trade unions and the government. Collective labour law relates to the tripartite relationship between employee, employer and union. Individual labour law concerns employees’ rights at work also through the contract for work“.
BETRAYED BY ELECTED GOVERNMENTS
Governments of different states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat etc have moved to loosen a string of labour laws mostly with reported goal of gaining more capital and allowing industrial activities easier amid the economic crisis brought on by the fall of the Covid-19. After these reforms, employers will raise employees’ daily shifts from 8 hours to 12 hours and are not forced to offer adequate working arrangements for workers such as sanitation, bathrooms, safety equipment, etc. Working hours have also been boosted in other states, including “Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat”.
“Aruna Roy, one of the oldest member of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, believes that the suspension of workers’ basic rights to privilege employers is corruption. In addition, widening the Job Guarantee Act in villages, and also applying it to counties, she says, would be the quickest way to rebuild the economy“. The disgusting disrespect for workers was portrayed by the controversial reforms to the labour laws of the Parliament in 2019. The need for the Covid-19 lockout to enact these unethical and ultimately undemocratic directives by the UP and MP governments would drive India back several decades, restricting the worker to slavery. Workers are the hardest hit by Covid-19 travel restrictions and are abused and arrested as suspects escaping authority. This is the betrayal of a representative government, chosen by a vast majority of working citizens.
“Governments call these improvements ‘reforms,’ which are structured to allow businesses ‘more independence.’ As someone fighting for the interests and freedoms of workers, how do you feel about this”? Reforms typically display a transition for the better. The most apt term would be degradation or removal of rights. Suspension of the fundamental rights of employees to the privilege of employers is corruption. The order passed by the U.P. and suggested by the administrations of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat is a compelled restriction on the agitation, movement and independence of the most helpless to assert their rights. We could hardly consider this kind of rule democratic.
The opportunity to boost productivity which was a political move of the government to cope with the loss they face in the crisis and also from the questioning and raging society should not have to come at the detriment of the workers. Denial of essential human dignity-provisions of ventilation, electricity, bathrooms, seating rooms, first aid boxes, safety supplies, canteens, crèches, frequent holidays, rest periods, minimum wages and water supplies remind us of all the days when slavery was recognised. Even early Bollywood films depicted the inhumanity of the circumstances that free India has drastically reduced. The government’s decision to suspend labour legislation is legally abominable. Many of these civil rights, such as “the right to a living wage, have been accepted by the Supreme Court as an indispensable part of the basic rights enshrined in Part III of the Constitution (in this case Article 21&23)”.
It is not only unethical but also completely unconstitutional for the government to hit at the heart of the basic rights of the working class in this way. Nothing explained the urgent passing of this ordinance. The government is positive about the goal of increasing investment and welfare by easing labour laws. India had indeed undergone an economic slump, that were basically a matter of economic growth. The relaxing of labour legislation is a change to improve supply which will maximize the production dilemma due to the lack of discretionary income for a broad group of citizens, i.e. the labour force. The Central Government recognises whether substantial changes throughout the sector of labour law are necessary owing to the inclusion of a wide variety of regulations focusing on various facets of labour law.
The Central Government has tried to simplify current regulations into labour codes, which may be shown to be a move in the right direction in order to make enforcement simpler. The full removal of the rules to encourage investment and reduce the cost of enforcement is obviously unconstitutional from a constitutional point of view. Even the circumstance of a worldwide pandemic triggered by COVID-19 does not excuse the systematic negligence of the workforce. It is especially at this moment that the State must take action to defend its interests. “Paradoxically, the reaction of several other countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, etc”. to help workers and employers in times of distress has been encouraging. “
This suspension could lead to a policy of hire and burn by employers”. Government betrayed the public specially the labour force by suspending these laws, as the workers are the ones who make the economy by working and be suspending there is very bad move of government to save their reputation.
Even though the court cannot interfere in the decisions take by the government, as it is legislative decision, but this decision violates the rights of a community i.e. labour community. Testing the regulations now suspended by the Member States will demonstrate that these are main provisions that guarantee that employees are not abused in terms of working conditions, salaries and holidays. They will maintain negotiating power and appropriate procedures for settling conflicts concerning workers’ interests.
Through eliminating these protections, countries have essentially abandoned the fate of workers to the whims and fancies of their respective bosses. It would be against the system of labour laws and the system of the Constitution of India. It is true that the working class is the most affected section of the population due to the pandemic. It is argued that the challenged laws are enacted without an appropriate determining theory and are unreasonable. The stress relief of labour welfare schemes is unjustified and extreme and may be dismissed under the manifest arbitrariness test. Thus the suspension of labour laws are invalid.
 “https://thewire.in/economy/gujarat-labour-law-exemption-new-industries-covid-19(last accessed on 8 Nov, 2020)”.
 INDIA CONST. art. 22 & 23.
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