2 other states notify 12-hr workdays

A day after Odisha and Goa relaxed labour laws under the Factories Act of 1948 for a period of three months due to the pandemic, Maharashtra followed suit. All three states said the workers would be paid overtime for the extra hours.

UP, MP and Gujarat had already extended daily working hours in the past two days.

The CPM-affiliated Centre of Indian Trade Unions has opposed the move, saying the right to work only eight hours was obtained 130 years ago after a long struggle. Citu’s D L Karad said past experiences show that in small and medium enterprises labourers are never paid double for extra hours.

Karnataka, too, was planning to do so and said it would work with industry associations and workers’ unions to arrive at amicable solutions on number of working hours and wage arrears. But workers’ unions in the state, like AICCTU and INTUC, said if Karnataka relaxes labour norms, they would challenge the decision in the SC.

“No adult worker shall be allowed or required to work in a factory for more than 12 hours in any day and 72 hours in any week,” an official notification issued by Odisha Labour and Employees’ State Insurance Department said. It added that the work would be structured so that no work period would exceed 6 hours and no worker would work for more than six hours before a half-hour rest.

The Odisha order specified that no female workers would be allowed, or required, to work in a factory “between 7 pm and 6 am unless specifically permitted by the government”.

The Goa government relaxed some provisions of the Act and extended working hours to 12 hours, albeit with certain conditions, till July-end.

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