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Several trade union leaders were arrested at a demonstration in New Delhi, on Friday, against the abrogation and suspension of labour laws in states across India amid the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.
“Today the police did not allow us. We have planned a hunger strike here to sit throughout the day. The police did not allow us but the workers struggle will not depend upon police permission alone,” said Hemalatha, member of the Center of Trade Unions.
The leaders were reportedly detained and taken to a police station for violations of New Delhi’s lockdown law.
Another protest A R Sindhu insisted that demonstrators fully intended to comply with physical distancing regulations during their protests.
Similar actions were held nationwide amid a call for protest by a joint platform of trade unions that have termed as “draconian” changes made to the labour laws during the lockdown.
Protesters are demanding the restoration of suspended or altered labour laws in states across India.
“All the essential trade unions today are demanding that the different states’ governments exempt the labour laws (that are) increasing the working hours,” said Hemalatha, president of the Center of Trade Unions CITU.
“The government is not seriously taking any measures to implement its own guidelines and directions. The wages are not paid, even wages for March and April are not paid,” she added.
Union leaders are also demanding that adequate food be provided for the duration of the lockdown to those who lack the means to provide for themselves.
Video ID: 20200522-044
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