In the backdrop of the deepening migrants’ crisis and the country’s economy tottering on the verge of collapse, the Congress party on Monday launched a no-holds-barred attack on BJP-ruled states for amending labour laws.
Calling it a “shameful move,” party spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said, “BJP-ruled states amending labour laws to lure foreign investors; it highlights the true nature of suit-boot ki sarkar”.
He also appealed to the Central government to deny permission to states amending labour laws “to strip workers of their basic rights”.
Three BJP-ruled states – Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat – have frozen some major labour laws, allowing businesses to hire and fire at will, among other ‘benefits’. BJP-ruled states have put forth the premise that businesses will recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and create more jobs on a net basis.
“If the Prime Minister has a little concern for workers and labourers, then he should himself tell these states to not go ahead with amending labour laws and not allow them in doing so. We would expect the Prime Minister to intervene today itself,” said Shaktisinh Gohil.
Led by Yogi Adityanath, BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh was the first to amend most labour laws except a few for three years. The Yogi government has also suspended all labour laws. UP was followed by MP and Gujarat.
Gohil said as these laws are in the Concurrent List, no such suspension can take place without the explicit approval of the Central government.
“We, therefore, ask the Modi government to deny any permission that strip workers of their basic rights and have the potential of diminishing their livelihood. We also ask that trade unions be consulted before such an adverse step is taken,” he said.
As many as eight political parties had written to President Ramnath Kovind protesting the dilution of labour laws last week. On the pretext of battling the virus outbreak, daily working hours have been extended from eight to twelve in six states, said parties in the joint letter.
Here’s what the Congress spokesperson Shakti Sinh Gohi said: