With general elections barely a year away, the UPA government shows signals to address long-pending issues of the workers.
At a meeting with all central trade unions on Wednesday, a ministerial panel led by defence minister AK Antony assured that the government will work out the cost involved to implement the major demands of the trade unions.
"We have asked for parity of wages between permanent and contractual workers. We also sought that minimum wages should be Rs 10,000 and all unorganized workers should have pension of minimum Rs 1000," said DL Sachdeva of AITUC.
In the meeting, apart from Antony, finance minister P Chidambaram, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, labour minister Mallikarjun Kharge and top bureaucrats of from these ministries were present. The meeting was held after the trade unions, including Congress-affiliated INTUC appealed to the Prime Minister to sit for discussions.
In the recently concluded Indian Labour Conference, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also acknowledged that there cannot be any disagreement between the trade unions and the government on labour welfare issues.
While the government has already initiated a social welfare fund for unorganized section, the trade unions feel it is too little.