Trade union workers protest against changes in labour laws, demand salary for lockdown period

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Published on May 22, 2020 10:59 PM IST
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ByKapil Datta, Noida

Trade union workers on Friday protested against changes made to the labour law and demanded full salaries for the lockdown period. Although the union leaders were arrested by the police, workers held protests in different areas of the district on Friday.

“The CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Unions) president Gangeshwar Dutt Sharma was arrested on Thursday midnight. On Friday, on the All India Trade Union’s call, several workers held protests in their localities while maintaining social distancing. We have protested the changes in labour laws and has demanded salary for our workers for the lockdown period,” Ram Sagar, general secretary, CITU, a left-leaning traders’ body, said.

“Earlier, we had sent letter to the deputy labour commissioner and higher authorities highlighting the non-payment of salaries to workers during the lockdown period. Several workers have complained that they were not given salaries for 25 days of March for which they had worked prior to the imposition of the nationwide lockdown on March 25,” Sagar said.

“During the initial phases of the lockdown, though the permitted strength of workers was one-third the total staff strength of a unit, from May 3, all units have been running at full staff strength. But workers were disgruntled when they got no salary credited to their accounts for the month of April,” he said.

Several workers residing in Delhi, Ghaziabad, Hapur and other areas could not come for work as they were not allowed to cross the borders and enter Noida, despite having a permission letter from the district magistrate for their unit to function and management’s letter issuing passes to such workers. Salaries of these workers too were deducted for a number of days that they could not come to work, the union leader said. Some workers were allowed to adjust these days against permitted leaves.

“Non-essential product industries were not allowed to operate during lockdown. But as per guidelines, workers in these units too were to be given salary for the lockdown period, but a majority of such industries have not paid their workers,” Sagar claimed.

Deputy Labour Commissioner PK Singh said, “We are receiving more than 200 complaints every day regarding non-payment of salaries on the online grievance cell. Once lockdown is removed and the situation improves, there will be a flood of such complaints. We have sought directions from the government on such cases. Legal action against the defaulting companies will be taken as per the law for violating state government guidelines.”

There are at least 12,000 factories in Noida, 8,000 units in Greater Noida and at least 3,000 in areas under the UP State Industrial Development Corporation.

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Friday, January 21, 2022