Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that the fight against COVID-19 cannot be an excuse to “exploit workers, suppress their voice and crush their human rights”.
This comes after the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet on May 6 decided to suspend 35 of the 38 labour laws in the state for three years, saying this would attract much-needed investment to an economy battered by the pandemic. The BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh also has frozen major labour laws. Uttarakhand labour minister Harak Singh Rawat said his state too was contemplating “similar moves” to give exemptions to industry to help them deal with losses.
“Labour laws are being amended by many states. We are fighting together against coronavirus, but this cannot be an excuse to crush human rights, allow unsafe workplaces, exploit workers and suppress their voices. We cannot compromise on the basic principles [protecting the rights of workers],” tweeted the Congress leader in Hindi.
Earlier, eight political parties wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind protesting the changes to labour laws, including extending the daily working hours from eight to twelve in six States, on the grounds of fighting the pandemic.