In May 2020, several regional Indian governments have announced their intention to suspend certain basic labour rights for up to three years to revitalise the economy and attract foreign investments in a post COVID-19 context. The proposed changes include the extension of working hours to 12 hours per day, no increased pay for overtime, an increase of the threshold for lay-offs, and restrictions on labour inspections, health and safety legislation and on the freedom of association.
If approved by the federal government, these measures are expected to push even more workers into the informal sector, thus increasing risks for people and businesses.
amfori believes that governments should not hide behind the COVID-19 outbreak to lower labour standards. Any recovery plan must be based on long term considerations, where neither the planet nor people are sacrificed for the sake of the economy.
amfori urges governments to stick to internationally recognised labour rights when planning their recovery, taking into account the needs of the most vulnerable categories.
At amfori, we decided to take a clear stance on this by issuing a Position Paper with a set of recommendations for governments and the EU.
We have also co-signed a letter to the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, together with other civil society organisations and business organisations from the garment sector. The letter urges the federal government to reject restrictions on labour laws, encourage state governments to consult with stakeholders and ensure all fundamental ILO conventions continue to be implemented in India.
amfori takes indispensable measures to ensure a sustainable future of trade with purpose
Maintaining Sustainable Supply Chains During COVID-19
amfori and SLCP: Increase impact on working conditions in the supply chain
Human Rights Due Diligence Position Paper