IFWJ Demands for Immediate withdrawal of Increased Working Hours

New Delhi, 11 May. Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ) has demanded the immediate withdrawal of the provision for 72 hours work per week from the ordinance issued by six state governments as it is not only anti-labour but also against all forms of human values. It may be noted here that under the existing laws a worker is mandated to work only 48 hours in a week, but in the case of journalists it is only 36 hours a week as per the Working Journalists Act.

In a statement the IFWJ President BV Mallikarjunaih, Vice Presidents Hemant Tiwari, KM Jha, Keshab Kalita and Vibhuti Bhushan Kar, Secretaries Sidharth Kalhans, Gitika Talukdar, K Asudhulla and Treasurer Rinku Yadav have expressed shock over the dilution of labour laws particularly with regard to the increase in working hours by the state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odissa, Goa and Gujrat in the name of meeting the challenges arisen due to calamity of Covid-19. The IFWJ wonders as to how the governments have come to the decision of the magic figure of 12 hours a day for increasing the working hours.

The IFWJ has said that no study was conducted by any expert group before increasing the duty hours from 8 to 12 per day. It means that the workers will have to practically put in fifteen hours of work every day because on an average nearly three hours of time is consumed by the workers in commuting from their dwellings to places of work. The excessive hours of work are bound to badly tell upon their health. Moreover, due to long hours of work, they will suffer from acute exhaustion, fatigue and deprivation of sleep, leading to a frequent accident at workplaces.

IFWJ has reminded the state governments that 8 hours of duty per day for workers had been achieved after a great struggle. Dozens of workers had lost their lives in Haymarket Affair of Chicago in 1886 and to commemorate the victory of 8 hours of work per day, the workers across the globe celebrate the labour Day every year on 1st May. Shockingly the state governments have put the clock back without any application of mind. It may note here that the IFWJ has always been in favour of amending the archaic labour laws and for ending the bureaucratic regime and red-tapism of the labour departments of the state governments. IFWJ has, therefore, hopes that the good sense will prevail upon the governments and they will restore the hours of work to 48 hours per week for the general workers and 36 hours for the journalists would not be disturbed.

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