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Govt proposes graded minimum wage hike, unions stand by strike

business Updated: Aug 28, 2015 00:16 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
Central trade unions


In an attempt to break the impasse with the central trade unions (CTU’s) protesting against the government’s unilateral move to amend labour reforms, the finance minister Arun Jaitley-led inter-ministerial panel on Thursday offered a graded hike in the minimum wages of workers.

The unions have called for a nationwide strike on September 2.

Sources said the government has proposed minimum wage of Rs 7,000 for unskilled, Rs 8,500 for semi-skilled and Rs 9,500 for skilled workers. The representatives of CTU who attended Thursday’s meeting, however, rejected the offer, sticking to their demand of minimum wage of Rs 15,000 for all workers irrespective of skills.

“Since nothing tangible has emerged, and there is no convergence of opinion on other vital matters, there is no reason to postpone the strike. Eleven CTU’s are meeting on Friday to discuss about the preparation for the strike,” said Gurudas Dasgupta, general secretary, All India Trade Union Congress.

The government’s proposal to amend the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act is another bone of contention with the CTUs demanding that contract worker should get the same wage as a regular worker. Sources said the government has proposed that contractual labour should be paid minimum wages fixed by the respective states.

This would be the first general strike called by CTU’s to protest what they call the government’s unilateral labour reforms after the NDA government came to power The government has pushed for a slew of labour reforms, which the unions are claiming would “benefit the corporates” and not “workers.”