Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Monday announced the withdrawal of an amendment to the Factories Act that allowed up to 12-hour work days in industries, The Indian Express reported.
On April 21, the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed an amendment to the law that would have allowed workers to opt for 12-hour shifts for four days a week, with three days off. Currently, factories can employ workers for eight-hour shifts.
However, following protests from workers and trade unions, the Stalin-led government put the law on hold on April 25. The unions argued that the law would compromise proper working hours and expose workers to exploitation.
Allies of the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam – such as the Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi – had also opposed the new law.
On Monday, Stalin announced the withdrawal of the law while addressing a May Day event in Chennai, The Hindu reported. All MLAs of Tamil Nadu will soon be informed about the decision, he said.
The chief minister said that opposition to the law from the Labour Progressive Federation, a workers’ body affiliated with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, was proof of the health of democracy within the party.
He also said that both the decision to introduce the new law and to withdraw it within days required courage. This was in contrast to how the Central government ignored the demands to withdraw the three farm laws, leading to the loss of several lives, Stalin said, according to The Hindu.
In 2020, the Centre had introduced three new farm laws, claiming they would give farmers more access to markets and boost production through private investment. The laws were repealed in November 2021, after more than a year of protests against them by thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh held sit-in agitations at state borders of the national capital.