Accept salary cuts to keep the pink slips away — was the government’s message to the industry and labour unions on Friday. “Jobs must be protected even if it means some reduction in compensation,” said External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee — who also holds charge of the finance ministry — speaking at the Indian Labour Conference in New Delhi.
His attempt to blunt the impact of the crisis comes in the backdrop of an official study that revealed five lakh jobs had been lost during the October to December quarter.
Mukherjee and Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes, speaking at separate venues, also sought to reassure the country’s workforce of the government’s earnestness in taking steps to ease the impact of the deepening global crisis.
Responding to concerns of Lok Sabha members led by CPI member Gurudas Dasgupta regarding large scale retrenchment and wage cuts Fernandes acknowledged that the study’s estimate did not reflect the full magnitude of the problem. The Commerce Ministry officials have signalled that 10 lakh jobs may have already been lost.
Fernandes said the government was looking at extending the employment guarantee scheme to Urban areas.