The RSS-affiliated labour outfit BMS expressed displeasure with the Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments spearheading the dilution of labour laws on the grounds of the Covid-19 pandemic, a move which other states are set to follow.
Virjesh Upadhyay, general secretary of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) said, “After UP’s and MP’s decision, what we have learnt is that more states are going to follow suit. In principle, withdrawing coverage of laws from the workers is not justified.”
He added that the decision was an unfortunate one, withdrawing the protection given to workers and labourers. “They are looking at some opportunities for employment. I don’t find any reason for this dilution,” he said.
He said that the BMS national executive committee will deliberate on the decision and try to understand what the government ordinance meant by stating in its order: “The decision to exempt businesses from the purview of almost all labour laws was taken as economic and business activities in the state have been badly affected by the coronavirus spread.”
“We want to understand what do they mean by premising their decision on Covid-19. We know that the world will change, but how it will change? We know the nature of work and employment will change, but how it should change?” Upadhyay said.
The Yogi Adityanath government in UP had passed an ordinance suspending 38 labour laws in the state to attract investment amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Only four laws will continue to be applicable will be Section 5 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Workmen Compensation Act, 1932, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, and the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996. The ordinance will become law only after it receives the president’s assent.
Upadhyay said that migrants returning to the native states are not going back to ‘heaven’.
“Around 30 lakh labourers have gone back to Bihar. But they have no infrastructure to employ them. There are lot of ground issues – how will they absorb this force? This will lead to crime,” he said.
In his opinion, migration of the workers to their native states was an emotional and notional issue, with some provocations.