In times of crisis, solidarity between government, workers and employers is paramount

Statement from ILO Decent Work Team for South Asia and India about the evolving COVID-19 response mechanisms in India.

Press release | 13 May 2020
NEW DELHI, India (ILO NEWS): Collective efforts and solidarity between Government, Employers’ and Workers’ Organizations are critical to fight effectively against the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact on the world of work.

COVID-19 has jeopardized the health and safety of millions of people across India, and put immense pressure on businesses, jobs, and livelihoods. The country is making efforts to flatten the upward curve of infection. National and state-level measures to provide income and social security support to workers, and to revitalize businesses and the economy have been advanced on priority.

Certain States in India are moving towards relaxing labour laws with a view to revitalize 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). Labour laws protect well-being of both employers and workers. They are an important means to advance social justice and promote decent work for all.

Further, ILO has advised policy responses to consider four pillars:
  • First, the recovery efforts should stimulate the economy and employment using fiscal and monetary measures
  • Second, supporting enterprises, jobs and income through social protection, employment retention and financial relief to enterprises.
  • Third, workers need to be protected by strengthening occupational safety and health measures at work and by ensuring access to health care and paid leave
  • Fourth, and the most important is to strengthen the social dialogue, collective bargaining and labour relation institutions and processes for implementing solutions.
As a founding member of the ILO, India has been a strong advocate of developing and implementing international labour standards. Its commitment and respect for these standards has contributed to building a culture of social dialogue and tripartism in the country. This culture is key to achieve consensus among government, employers and workers and build a resilient and inclusive economy.

The ILO will continue to harness its strength - our normative mandate and technical expertise - to support the human centred and inclusive efforts of Government of India, Workers’ and Employers’ Organisations, to recover from COVID-19 crisis.
Read more: ILO Standards and COVID-19, Key provisions of international labour standards relevant to the evolving COVID19 outbreak
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The International Labour Organization is the United Nations agency for the world of work. We bring together governments, employers and workers to drive a human-centred approach to the future of work through employment creation, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue.

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Nilesh Nikade
Communication and Information Management Officer
ILO Decent Work Team for South Asia and Country Office for India
T: +91 11 4750 9200, 4750-9211 (D)
M: +91 872 787 3343