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All India Trade Union Congress moves ILO against ‘anti-workers’ law


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All India Trade Union Congress moves ILO against ‘anti-workers’ law


Urged ILO to make appropriate interventions ….!



The All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) has lodged a complaint with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) against The Factories (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2023.   

In its complaint, the AIUTUC stated that the bill violates the ILO conventions and declarations to which India is a signatory, and also urged the ILO to make appropriate intervention to make the Government of India to act swiftly to impress upon the Karnataka government to revoke the law, currently awaiting the state Governor’s assent. India is one of the founding members of the ILO.

In late February, the Karnataka government passed the legislation extending the daily working hours from nine to 12, subject to a 48-hour weekly cap, and extended the overtime hours’ limit from 75 hours to 145 hours over a three-month period.


What is the new law about and what is the reason for doing so?

The new law, which was passed without any debate, also allows women workers to work night shifts – from 7pm to 6am.

In a bid to make the state more competitive when seeking foreign manufacturing investments, the Karnataka government claimed that the amendments were mainly introduced to help the electronic manufacturing sector set up factories in the State.


What does the old law say ….?

According to the existing Factories Act, 1948, daily working hours cannot exceed nine, and a worker cannot be asked to work for more than five hours without a 30-minute break.


What is the fear of the Trade Unions ….?

However, trade unions fear that the amendment provisions set an unhealthy precedent in the state, as it overstretches worker capacity to the detriment of their health and well-being, and could put a stop on hiring to cut costs.

They also said the amendment would deprive workers of their rights, and noted that the law accedes to the demands of corporates.

In March, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) had written to the Karnataka governor, Vajubhai Vala, urging him not to give his assent to the amendment to the Factories Act passed by the Karnataka Legislature.

Pointing out various reasons for why the bill should not be passed, CITU argued that the present trend of shifting factories to the city’s outskirts has led to a travel time of 1-2 hours per day for workers. This, coupled with 12 hours of work, would result in workers being outside their homes for up to 16 hours per day. Further, it argued that compelling women to work the night shift may discourage women from working in factories.

To pacify critics, Karnataka Law Minister J. C. Madhu Swamy said that the changed law did not impose 12-hour workdays or make it compulsory for industries in the state and is, in effect, meant to ‘facilitate agreements between industry and labour’.

As India’s female labour force participation rate is deplorable, the Karnataka government stated that the amended law would enhance working opportunities for women in the state.


Who and what triggered this move?

The amendments to Karnataka’s labour law are among a wish list of reforms sought by multinationals such as American technology giant Apple and Taiwanese contract electronics maker Foxconn. Foxconn, a principal Apple subcontractor, operates assembly plants in Tamil Nadu and was recently in discussions to set up a new 300-acre factory in Karnataka.

According to reports, state governments including Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are yielding to Apple’s request and are considering passing new rules that will make factory shifts more flexible as they are eager to make India the new iPhone assembly hub.



Meanwhile, the ILO is currently examining the working hours and schedules of individuals in India, with a focus on the impact of these changes on the country’s workforce. The ILO is expected to release an India-centric report on the issue by July or August, according to a report by the Economic Times.

Responding to the sweeping changes in labour laws proposed by state governments, the ILO in 2020, had asked the authorities to ensure that all such relaxations adhere to global standards and are implemented after proper consultation.

“Certain states in India are moving towards relaxing labour laws with a view to revitalise the economy from the impact of Covid-19. Such amendments should emanate from tripartite consultation involving the government, the workers’ and the employers’ organisations and be compliant with the international labour standards, including the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW),” the ILO said in statement.


Proprietary blog of Karma Global Tech Management LLC

This blog has been collated and compiled by the internal staff of Karma Global with the knowledge and expertise that they possess, besides adaptation, illustration, derivation, transformation, collection from various sources, for its monthly newsletter Issue 12 of June 2023 and in case of specific or general information or compliance updates for that matter, kindly reach out to the Marketing Team – /

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