Several trade unions, backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Left parties, have condemned the unilateral withdrawal of labour laws and asked the chief ministers to roll back their decisions.

The RSS-backed Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has said that the state governments have so far not been able to convince the public about how labour laws are a hurdle in economic activities during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“The state governments have not so far been able to convince the public how labour laws are hurdles in economic activities and about the emergent situation requiring the extreme step of suspension of labour laws,” its statement said.

“On the contrary, for the labour, the Covid-19 situation has created an extraordinary situation of massive economic losses and job losses, losses of Livelihood besides financial, psychological and social issues. Urgent measures need to be taken to address this,” BMS said.

The Left parties-backed Center of Trade Unions (CITU) has warned the Centre that it could move to International Labour Organisation (ILO) since the recent decisions are against its conventions.

So far, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)- ruled Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments have announced the suspension of labour laws for a period of 3 years.

Trade Unions fear that more states could follow the suit.

The state units have been asked to write to the chief ministers of respective states to stop withdrawal of labour laws and ask the government to discuss with trade unions on every step taken in the labour sector.

The BMS has also directed State units to write to their chief minister asking for details of road map for economic activities and employment generation after Covid -19 effect.

“The Visakhapatnam [gas leak] incident related to safety and the tragic deaths of migrant workers who were compelled to sleep on railway tracks in Aurangabad show the grave situation in the labour sector,” the BMS said in the statement.

The Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions and Federations/Associations has also vehemently opposed the blanket exemptions given to all establishments from the employers’ obligation under all substantive labour laws for a period of 3 years by the state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

“In Uttar Pradesh, the Ordinance in this regard has already been promulgated and same is going to be done in Madhya Pradesh as asserted by the state’s chief minister [Shivraj Singh Chauhan],’ the statement released by the CITU said.

The CITU’s statement also cited a media report that said a similar move of liberating the employers from all labour laws is going to be initiated in Gujarat as well for a period of 1,200 days, i.e., more than 3 years, and that Tripura is also making a similar move.

The CITU has warned the Center that it was seriously considering lodging a complaint with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on these “misdeeds” by the government for gross violation of Labour Standards. has plenty of useful resources that can help you better understand the coronavirus pandemic and protect yourself. Read our comprehensive guide (with information on how the virus spreads, precautions and symptoms), watch an expert debunk myths, check out our data analysis of cases in India, and access our dedicated coronavirus page. Get the latest updates on our live blog.

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