In recent times, several states have relaxed labour laws as India continues to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak. Madhya Pradesh was one of the first to do so, and several other states including Uttar Pradesh followed suit.
On May 8 it was announced that the Uttar Pradesh government had approved an ordinance to exempt various industries in the state from different labour laws for three years. This was done in an effort to revive the economic activities in the state amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Reports had suggested that all except four of the existing laws were to be removed, and the decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
This decision now appears to have been revoked.
According to a Bar and Bench report, the Allahabad High Court was informed on Tuesday that the state government had withdrawn its notification relaxing some of the labour laws. This information came from the Additional Advocate General, the Chief Standing Counsel and SK Rai, Standing Counsel for the Central Government.
Earlier on May 14, the Allahabad HC had issued a PIL challenging the UP government's decision. Following the revelation, the PIL has now been dismissed.
To recap, the Uttar Pradesh government had given its nod to the Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Laws Ordinance, 2020 to exempt factories, businesses, establishments and industries from the purview of all, except three labour laws and one provision of another Act for three years.
The now retracted modifications had included changing the factory working hours from 8 to 12 hours a day, capped at 72 hours per week. Wages were to be in line with the existing wages, proportionately increased for the additional hours.
Additionally, the period of time an adult factory worker can work each day was fixed at six hours, and a worker could not work more than six hours without a break of at least half an hour.