BSP president Mayawati
BSP president Mayawati

The Bahujan Samaj Party on Saturday attacked the Uttar Pradesh government for exempting industries in the state from some labour laws, saying it comes at a time when the condition of labourers is the "worst" during coronavirus pandemic.

In a series of Hindi tweets, BSP chief Mayawati said, "Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the condition of labourers is perhaps the worst, and even then a mechanism has been implemented where instead of 8 hours of work, they are made to work for 12 hours. This is very sad and unfortunate. Change in labour laws should be in the interest of the labourers." "Babasaheb BR Ambedkar had brought the concept of overtime, if the labourers had worked for more than 8 hours in a day, when exploitation of labour was at its peak. Is it correct to push the country to that era," she asked in another tweet.

The BSP chief also said, "Keeping the current situation prevailing in the country, the labour laws should be changed in a way, so that labourers working in a factory or private organisation get food and lodging facilities there itself. In no condition any labourer should be allowed to die because of hunger, nor should they be forced to undertake exodus." The UP Cabinet chaired by the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath earlier this week had given its nod to ''Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Laws Ordinance, 2020'' to exempt factories, business establishments and industries from the purview of all, except three labour laws and one provision of another law for three years.

An UP government official spokesperson had on Thursday said the government has given its approval to an ordinance exempting businesses from labour laws to revive the economy and boost investments following the coronavirus outbreak.

"This step has been taken because businesses and economic activities have come to a halt more or less due to the national lockdown," the spokesman had said.

"There is a need to give impetus to industrial and economic activities and create more investment opportunities besides bring the existing industry back on track," he had said.

The state Cabinet had given its nod to ''Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Laws Ordinance, 2020'' to exempt factories, business establishments and industries from the purview of all, but three labour laws and one provision of another legislation for three years.

Some labour laws, however, would continue to prevail, he had said, adding that labour laws provisions related to the women and child will continue to exist along with the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996, the section 5 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 and the Workmen Compensation Act, 1923.

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