GOVT’S ANNOUNCEMENT ON MINIMUM WAGES Etc IS A MOCKERY AND DECEPTION COMBAT THROUGH MASSIVE STRIKE ON 2nd SEPTEMBER 2016
30th August 2016
The Group of Ministers headed by the Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley, and comprising Labour Minister, Petroleum Minister and Power Minister held a Press Conference today on 30th August 2016 to tell the nation that the Govt had accepted major demands of the trade unions and hence they should not go in for strike on 2nd September 2016. CITU considers the statement of the Govt nothing but a mockery meted out to workers.
The Statement of the Finance Minister that the Govt has accepted the recommendation of the Minimum Wage Advisory Committee is totally untrue. The Minimum Wage Advisory Committee met on 30th August 2016 at 3 pm and ended inconclusive while all the workers’ representatives reiterated their demand of Rs 18000/-. Such mis-statement by Govt is a deliberate ploy to mislead and confuse the workers before the strike.
Govt’s offer of a floor level minimum wage of Rs 350/- per day, i.e., Rs 9100/- per month (26 days) is cruel joke by the Govt making a posture of accepting the demands of workers. Trade unions reject such a mockery in the name of offer with the contempt it deserves.
Releasing previous year’s bonus for the central govt employees is not something about Govt’s magnanimity. Govt did so to implement the enhanced ceiling as per the Payment of Bonus Act for them, which they should have done much earlier. Now they have released in order to deceptively pose that the Govt has been considering so many things. So far as the court cases on implementation of Payment of Bonus Act is concerned, it is the responsibility of the central govt to defend and implement the Act passed by Parliament, for which they cannot claim any special credit. But this NDA Govt should better note that it is the BJP Govt in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan etc have withheld implementation of the Bonus Act for the year 2014-15 on their own citing the High Court Orders in Kerala and Karnataka which were not binding on them. That makes the real intention clear.
Govt also stated that they will issue advisory to state governments to ensure registration of trade unions within 45 days. Advisory is not having binding impact. What is required is to make statutory arrangement. But in their proposals on labour reforms, Govt has already put so many conditions that would make registering trade union virtually impossible.
On being asked in the press conference about the right to minimum wages for the central Govt Scheme workers like Anganwadi, Mid-day-meal, ASHA etc , The Finance Minister brushed the questioner aside saying that scheme workers are all volunteers and not workers. He must recall that the 46th Indian Labour Conference held during NDA regime has unanimously reiterated the recommendation of the previous ILC that the Scheme workers should be recognized as workers with right to minimum wages and attendant benefits.
The Minister further stated that the scheme workers will be covered by the Social Security benefits for which a committee will be constituted. Almost same statement was uttered by him one year before on 26-27 August 2015, prior to previous general strike. Nothing has been done yet. Rather ESIC has offered extremely partial ESI benefit to Anganwadi and mid-day-meal workers on payment of Rs 250/- per month which amounts to 8.33% of the paltry earning of the anganwadi workers, 16% of the anganwadi helpers and 25% of the mid-day-meal workers; whereas the workers covered by ESIC Act are to contribute 1.75% of their wage for full ESI benefit. Such proposal is dubiously designed to deny them the social security benefit and this deceptive game is going on.
In reality, Govt’s announcement in the press conference on the charter of demands of the workers is nothing but a hoax and must be rejected outright. This is game to confuse and mislead people just on the eve of strike. Such deceptive and dubious ploy of the Govt must be combated through making the 2nd September 2016 a massive success.