11th Opinion - States Approved 12- Hour Daily Work Shifts


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Saturday, 9 May 2020

Opinion - States Approved 12- Hour Daily Work Shifts

Sates Government of Goa, Odisha, Maharashtra had approved 12-hours daily work shifts after relaxing the labour laws under the Factories Act of 1948. With the amendment in the law, workers has to work extra four hours more than the current 8 hours — for three months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. All states said the workers would be paid overtime for the extra hours. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat had already extended daily working hours in the past two days.

Odisha and Goa had already done it where as Karnataka, too, was planning to do so and said it would work with industry associations and workers’ unions to arrive at amicable solutions on the number of working hours and wage arrears.  The ceiling on working hours has been relaxed to 12 hours from eight, subject to the condition that workers are paid double for the extra hours as well as a weekly limit of 60 hours and a stipulation that they cannot be allowed to work all seven days.

Workers union in the state, like AICCTU and Intuc has opposed the move and said if it relaxed labour norms, they would challenge the decision in the Supreme Court.

The law, which means workers can be asked legally to work four extra hours every day, came after representations from industry bodies and employers’ unions for longer work hours to make up for lost production and restart the economy. 

12-hours a day

The CPM-affiliated Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has opposed the move, saying the right to work only eight hours was obtained 130 years ago after a long struggle. They are doubting the extra money paid and said that the past experiences show that in small and medium enterprises laborers are never paid double for extra hours. 

Read - No Dearness Allowance hike for Pensioners and Employees till July 2021

Citu said it will approach the courts. “No worker shall be allowed or required to work in a factory more than 12 hours in any day and 72 hours in any week,” an official notification by the Odisha Labour and Employees’ State Insurance Department said. It added that no worker would work for more than six hours before a half-hour rest.

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