05/22/2020, 15.21
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Indian unions slam the authorities for using the lockdown to take away workers' rights

Workers forced to work up to 12 hours a day without overtime. Union meetings and collective bargaining have been suspended. Workers no longer can turn to labour courts. In April, 122 million jobs were lost because of the coronavirus.

Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – India’s main unions protested today against the authorities’ decision to suspend labour laws on the pretext of fighting the pandemic emergency.

The ten Central Trade Unions accuse federal and state political leaders of going against the interests of working people.

The controversy began when some states extended the maximum hours of work from 8 to 12 hours without overtime pay.

In some states, the right to union meetings, collective bargaining and decent working conditions has been suspended.

Now industrial workers cannot even file a complaint against their employer, nor apply to the labour courts to assert their rights.

Indian authorities imposed a lockdown on 24 March, extending it last week until 31 May. As a result of social confinement and economic lockdown, 122 million jobs were wiped out in April alone.

With millions of internal migrants losing their job, many were forced to go back to their home villages, in some cases walking up to a thousand kilometres.

Meanwhile, on 12 May, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a US$ 266 billion economic plan to restart the economy.

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