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4378Many states in India are using the coronavirus crisis as an excuse to suspend labour laws and attack workers’ rights as the central government of Narendra Modi continues its assault on the trade union movement. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have announced extensive changes, increasing working hours from 8 to 12 hours, introducing fixed term employment and suspended or providing exemptions to labour laws. Many other states have also introduced changes. These attacks on workers’ rights were made through executive orders when the legislative assemblies or parliament were not in session. The changes were made without consultation with trade unions, and undermine fundamental principles and rights at work. The Indian government must withdraw these changes, strengthen the labour inspectorate and provide social security for all.

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