Although Indian labour laws are amongst the best in the world, their implementation is slow and obstructed by corruption. Over the last 15 years, under the impact of globalization, privatization and structural adjustment policies the situation is further deteriorating. Despite stiff opposition from trade unions, the government has succeeded in making major inroads into workers’ rights.
What HRLN Does
The Labour Rights Initiative works in both rural and urban areas with the organized and unorganized sectors. HRLN lawyers have filed several cases in Supreme Court and High Courts representing workers on cases of discrimination, illegal closures, illegal termination, starvation death cases, minimum wages, no-pay and others.
It conducts investigation into safety and welfare measures for construction workers as per the Building And Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996. It also conducts people’s tribunal where victims give testimonies on how they have been affected by corporate crimes. The objective behind these people’s tribunals is to identify measures for remedying loopholes and provisions in the existing legal and government structure that allows corporations to abuse human rights without any fear of punishment. By organizing consultations at a national level, the initiative gives organizations, trade unions, labour lawyers, judges , journalists, academicians and other professionals across the country a platform to present their struggles on a variety of labour rights issues and work together to bring about a change.
HRLN also has publications on labour rights topics ranging from posters on occupational health and safety issues for use in the workplace, to compilation of landmark judgments. It works at the grassroots level to assist workers and surrounding communities in campaigning against specific companies.
- Fair wages and working conditions
- Implementation of labour laws
- Discrimination on the basis of caste, religion, sexual orientation, disability
- Implementation of health and safety regulations for workers
Though there are laws prohibiting the closure of factories without prior government permission, illegal closures are common. HRLN has often intervened where courts have inducted closures in several cases. It has also intervened in cases relating to wages of workers. For example, in Girni Kamagar Sangarsh Samiti vs Matulya Mills Limited, the court’s remarkable judgement that a company’s inability to pay is no defence for non-payment of wages brought a change in the rights of workers.
HRLN had also filed a PIL on the behalf of the Occupational Health and Safety Association about the alarming levels of toxic air pollutants in and around thermal power plants which caused occupational diseases among workers. The Supreme Court directed the agencies to take several actions which benefited thousands of workers, including free and comprehensive medical checkups, continuation of work contracts during illness, occupational disease compensation, modern protective equipment, strict measures for the control of dust, heat, noise, vibration and radiation, and adherence to the code of practice and occupational safety and health audit as developed by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
In another case, a PIL filed by HRLN benefited tens of thousands of tea plantation workers. In a landmark case, the Supreme Court of India issued a notice and the government bought out a notification to cater to the health, education, food and livelihood of the workers and their families by reviving plantations and including them in various schemes.
HRLN has always criticized contract labour and takes up several cases demanding that the workers be made permanent. In Kachara Vahatuk Shramik Sangh vs Bombay Municipal Corporation, the High Court of Bombay held that removal of rubbish was statutory duty and was open to corporations delegating this work to contractors. But after HRLN appealed in the Supreme Court, the decision of high court was set aside and 800 workers were regularised. Similarly, in the case of Rajkumar vs Union of India, HRLN lawyers demanded the abolishment of the contract labour system at Delhi airport. Though the contract labour board upheld the case against the workers, the High Court ordered the board to make a fresh decision after HRLN’ s intervention.
On 18th July, the Human Rights Law Network, in collaboration with North East Support Centre & Helpline, Himalayan Un ...read more
In the wake of Covid- 19, a group of researchers and lawyers from HRLN began the process of organizing a series of webin ...read more
Fact-Finding Report on the rescue of trafficked bonded labourers from Modi Bhatta, Akla Village, Aklav Tehsil, Anand District, Gujarat on 20th January, 2020
Anand District, Gujarat Report ...read more
Report on the Meeting on Land Rights and Organization Building Banaskantha, Gujarat - 21st September, 2019
Human Right Law Network, Gujarat organized a one day seminar on Land Rights and Organization Building with Banaskantha D ...read more
Report of District Level Meeting on “Freedom from Forced Labour and Modern Slavery in Agricultural Sector” at Sabarkantha, Gujarat
Human Rights Law Network(HRLN)hadorganised a district-level meetingin collaboration with ‘Actionaid’, ‘Aajeevika b ...read more
Minors from the tribal belts of Assam and Tripura in the NorthEastern states of India were trafficked to work at restaur ...read more
As part of the continuous national campaign to eradicate the bonded labour and to rescue bonded labours across India, a ...read more
For a 17-year-old girl, who was locked in a room as a bonded labour, freedom came knocking on the doors of her employers ...read more
Chandigarh: Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a notice to Centre, Punjab, and Haryana governments seeking a r ...read more
A women and minor girl, who were working as bonded labourers in a house in New Delhi’s Shalimar Bagh, were rescued in ...read more
An eight-year journey of bonded labour finally came to an end for a minor girl from Delhi, who was rescued and restored ...read more
A woman from West Bengal, who was being held as a bonded labour, was rescued from Pathankot on Thursday (23rd August, 20 ...read more
WP(C) 17377/2018 Recently the National Highway department started forcefully evicting rural street vendors working be ...read more
Allahabad HC orders stay on arrest of 6 LG Electronics workers who were punished for trying to unionise
This is a case where LG Electronics started transferring its workers to remote locations. However, only those workers wh ...read more
The NCCEBL, Socio Legal Information Centre (SLIC), Delhi and Action Aid India, with support of Samba and Reasi District ...read more
25 people from eight families were rescued on Saturday night after the National Campaign Committee For Eradication Of Bo ...read more