the 12 hour-day undermines rights, health and economic recovery

In several countries laws are being relaxed, suspended or revised to extend daily working hours from 8 to 12 hours. See the case of India, for example. Proponents of these changes claim this will boost business and speed-up economic recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 lock-down.

The extension of working hours to 12 results in: lower take home pay (loss of overtime pay); poorer health (vulnerability to coronavirus as well as higher risks of industrial injury due to exhaustion); fewer jobs (3 people are doing the work of 5 people); discrimination and inequality; and contributes nothing to economic recovery. 

Post-COVID-19 recovery will depend on domestic consumption, not exports. Workers’ real wages and disposable income are essential to this. Yet workers will be earning less, more workers will be unemployed, and the fear of unemployment among those who do have jobs will force saving, not spending. These labour law reforms are creating an even deeper economic recession.

18 May 2020

Published by Hidayat Greenfield

IUF Asia/Pacific Regional Secretary

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