The Allahabad High Court on May 14, 2020, issued a notice in a Public Interest Litigation; challenging the Uttar Pradesh Government’s move to relax certain labour law regulations concerning working hours, rest periods and overtime. Advocates Pranjal Shukla and Vinayak Mitthal filed the petition on behalf of the UP Worker’s Front. The plea states that this violates Constitutional values. The Division Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Siddhartha Varma issued the notice.
Notification on Relaxation of Labour Law Regulations
The Uttar Pradesh government issued a notification on May 8 according to sections 51, 54, 56, 59 of Factories Act 1948. This notification is both retrospective and prospective in nature and will remain in force till 19 July. The Notification states that:
- No adult worker shall be allowed or required to work in a factory for more than twelve hours; in any day and Seventy-two hours in any week.
- The periods of work of adult workers in a factory each day shall be fixed; so that no period shall exceed six hours; and that no worker shall work for more than six hours; before he has had an interval for rest of at least half an hour.
- Wages shall be in proportion of the existing wages. (For instance, if wages for eight hours are 80 Rupees, then proportionate wages for twelve hours will be 120 rupees).
Recently, the Uttar Pradesh government cleared the Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Laws Ordinance, 2020, exempting factories and other manufacturing units in the state from the provisions under various labour laws, for a period of three years. The Factories Act, 1948 is one of the laws which will remain enforceable.
Other laws remaining in force are Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996; Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976; Section 5 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936; and the Provisions of various labour laws relating to employment of children and women.