India

Pandemic can’t be an excuse to deny workers’ dignity of their labour: SC

It quashes Gujarat govt notification exempting factories from paying overtime wages to workers during lockdown between April 20 and July 19.

It quashes Gujarat govt notification exempting factories from paying overtime wages to workers during lockdown between April 20 and July 19.

The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed a Gujarat government notification exempting factories from paying overtime wages to workers during the lockdown between April 20 and July 19.

A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said the pandemic could not be an excuse to deny workers the dignity of their labour. Workers have the right to proper wages and ideal working conditions.

The pandemic could not be viewed by the government as an internal emergency to sideline statutory laws that protected workers’ rights under the Factories Act, it said.

While the court acknowledged the financial hardships faced by factory owners due to the pandemic, it reminded them that the brunt of the economic slowdown should not be entirely put on the workers’ shoulders.

The government notification allowed factory owners to make their workers slog up to 12 hours a day, 72 hours in a week with a 30-minute break after six hours.

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