May Day brings little solace, as Indian workers stare at longer work hours

For the first time in one and a half centuries, workers will have to toil 72 hours a week in at least five states as govts try to restart production amid the nationwide lockdown

labourers, migrant labourers, labour law

India’s first factory regulation also coincided with an uprising in the working class across the world

Somesh Jha New Delhi
When the first law governing factories in India was introduced under British rule in the 19th century, workers got a set of rights related to their working conditions, one of which included a cap on working hours in a week.

The Factory Act of 1881 set the maximum number of working hours in a week at 72 (12 hours a day if a person worked six days in a week). It was also partly because of the pressure that British authorities faced from mill owners back home in Lancashire, who feared that they were losing out to competition coming from the Indian textile industry because of lower cost of production.

For the first time in around one-and-a-half centuries, Indian workers

First Published: Apr 30 2020 | 11:43 PM IST

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