The Union Government last week increased the minimum wage of non-agricultural, unskilled workers in the central sphere from Rs.246 to Rs.350 per day.
Following the Delhi CM’s announcement to increase minimum wages for unskilled labour by 50 per cent, the Union Government recently announced a 42 per cent increase in minimum wages for unskilled non-agricultural workers in the central sphere, —employees of the Central Government and allied departments and undertakings, for category ‘C’ areas from Rs 246 a day to Rs 350 a day — or Rs 9,100 for a month of 26 working days.
Workers’ bodies, however, were not pleased, and 10 central trade unions, all except the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, went ahead with their nationwide strike on Friday. The Union Government last week increased the minimum wage of non-agricultural, unskilled workers in the central sphere from Rs 246 to Rs 350 per day and announced the release of pending bonuses of Central Government employees in an attempt to get trade unions to call off the nationwide labour strike planned for 2 September.
After notification by the Central Government, the minimum wage revision will be applicable to Central Government employees in its scheduled employment, in line with the provisions of the Minimum Wage Act, 1948. Currently, there are 45 scheduled employments under the central sphere, including agriculture, stone mines, construction, non-coal mines, and loading and unloading, and around 1,679 employments of states.
An inter-ministerial panel on labour led by finance minister Arun Jaitley termed the?decisions historic. “This is a huge jump in minimum wages,” Jaitley said while appealing to trade unions to not go on strike. The other members of the panel are Labour Minister, Bandaru Dattatreya, Power Minister, Piyush Goyal; Petroleum Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh.
The trade unions had demanded statutory minimum wage for all workers of not less than Rs 18,000 per month — implying a minimum wage of Rs 18,000 for workers in the ‘C’ category areas, and proportionally higher in the ‘B’ and ‘A’ category areas of Rs 22,320 and Rs 26,560 respectively. The Government’s announcement is half that: Rs 9,100, Rs 11,362 and Rs 13,598 respectively.
On the other hand, while the workers across the nation were on strike, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung had returned the Delhi Government’s file on hiking minimum wages in the city. After the Cabinet’s approval the file was sent to the Lt Governor for his nod. Delhi Labour Minister, Gopal Rai had also met Jung over the issue and said the LG returned the file citing some errors in it.