The announcement of hike in minimum wages of workers in Punjab on the eve of International Labour Day by the state government has brought some respite to the workers who are facing the brunt of high inflation; however, it's not going down well with the industry that has been opposed to such move.
Welcoming the announcement, district secretary of Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) Tarsem Singh Jodha said the hike in minimum wages would definitely help the working class to cope up with the rising prices; however, he added, “The move to announce it again on the eve of International Labour Day is politically motivated.”
“The notification of hike in minimum wages, which the labour minister announced on Tuesday, was issued about one-and-half month back, and the minister was merely doing a politics by announcing it on the eve of International Labour Day,” said Jodha.
Punjab labour minister Surjit Kumar Jayani had announced the hike in minimum wages in the state on Tuesday, which came into effect from March 1.
Commenting on the objections raised by the industry against the hike, Jodha said policies adopted by the state government were responsible for the plight of industry, and hence the industry people should raise their voices against it.
“Instead of criticising the hike in minimum wages - which is necessary for the workers - industry should struggle against the policies of the government, and they would be supported by trade unions, who want industry to flourish,” he said.
On the other hand, criticsing the hike in minimum wages, president of United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association (UCPMA) Gurmit Singh Kular said the hike would affect the industry adversely. “We can only resent the government's anti-industry policies, as we did when there was increase in minimum ages of labourers. We don't know what the government has planned for the industry, as it has been taking anti-industry decisions repeatedly,” he said.
Chairman of knitwear club Vinod Thapar said that despite strong objection by the industry people, the state government increased the minimum wages. The decision is not at all fair. “The industry was already reeling under the anti-industry policies of the government; the hike in the power tariff was the latest one. The hike in minimum wages will further harm the industry,” he said.
Representatives of industry in the Punjab Labour Welfare Board had reportedly opposed the hike in wages at the board meeting and in public as well, saying that the hike would harm the industry a lot. The implementation of the hike in minimum wages was also delayed due to objections from industry.
As per the announcement, wages of unskilled labourers like watchman, peon, helpers have been raised from Rs5,200 to Rs5,695 per month. Likewise the wages of semi-skilled workers have been revised from Rs5,980 to Rs6,475 per month.
Similarly, skilled worker like blacksmith and electrician having five year experience on unskilled post would get a minimum Rs7,372 per month, instead of Rs6,877 while wages of high-skilled labourers like graduate, technical degree holder, crane driver, truck driver has been revised from Rs7,909 to Rs8,404.