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24 Mai 2020

Prashant K. Nanda, LiveMint

India: In response to trade unions' complaint, ILO expresses 'deep concern' over labour law amendments

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"ILO expresses 'deep concern' over labour law changes, appeals to PM Narendra Modi", 25 May 2020

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has expressed “deep concern" over the labour law amendments and exemptions initiated by several Indian states, and has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and give a clear message to states on international commitments.

On 14 May, 10 central trade unions wrote to the Geneva-based ILO highlighting the plight of workers and the violation of ILO convention No 144. They sought its intervention. India is a signatory of ILO convention 144, which calls for tripartite consultations among government, employers and workers.

“Please allow me to assure you that the ILO director general has immediately intervened, expressing his deep concern at these recent events and appealing to the prime minister to send a clear message to central and state governments to uphold the country’s international commitments and encourage engagement in effective social dialogue," said the ILO letter addressed to the trade unions. Mint has seen a copy of the letter...

This is the initial stage of ILO’s response, but if the matter escalates further, it may hamper Indian trade in the global market because of violation of the rights of workers. Trade unions said they will escalate the matter and are readying to send another letter to ILO on the issue.

...Indian industries, however, have maintained that the amendments to the laws are required to facilitate the ease of doing business and will promote more investments.