Minimum wage: CITU accuses Centre of ‘misleading’ workers

Wednesday, Aug 31, 2016,16:12 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi  | Accusing the government of “misleading” workers, unions today said the central advisory board did not discuss any proposal of hiking minimum wage to Rs 350 per day as announced by the government yesterday and the meeting on Monday was inconclusive.

“There was no proposal to hike minimum wage to Rs 350 per day. The meeting of the Central Advisory Board held on Monday remained inconclusive,” All India Trade Union Congress Secretary D L Sachdev said.

“During the meeting, the employees’ unions had demanded a minimum monthly wage of Rs 18,000 and asked the government to amend the Minimum Wage Act to make a provision for universal wage.”

At present, the minimum wage fixed by the Centre is not universally applicable as labour is on the concurrent list of the Constitution. Thus, states can fix either higher or lower rate of minimum wage fixed by the Centre.

The Board is an advisory body with representative of employees and other stakeholders, which recommends the rate of minimum wage and matters related to it to the government.
Yesterday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who heads an informal ministerial group on labour issues, made several announcements, including a hike in minimum wage for non-farm workers by 42 per cent to Rs 350 for unskilled non-farm workers of the central government.

In a letter addressed to Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya today, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) General Secretary Tapen Sen said, “You have stated that based on deliberations in the meeting of the Minimum Wage Advisory Board held on August 29, 2016, the government has decided to fix minimum wages for the central sphere at Rs 350 per day.” “… in the press conference addressed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on August 30, 2016, where you were also present, Jaitley stated on camera that the government has accepted the recommendation of the Minimum Wage Advisory Board regarding minimum wage. I would like to state that both the statements are not factually correct.”

The letter stated that the fact is the meeting of the advisory board held on August 29, 2016… remained inconclusive and all the workers’ representatives said in one voice that their proposal on minimum (monthly) wage of Rs 18,000 is based on modalities of fixing minimum wage decided by the Indian Labour Conference.