Sandeep Yadav, Jan 19, 2012, New Delhi, DHNS:

5,000 factory owners challanged under the Act in last five years

The Labour Department of Delhi government, which has been entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing various labour legislations for the welfare of workmen, has challaned close to 5,000 factory owners in last five years, including 1,022 in 2011 alone.

According to the available data, the Minimum Wages Act,1948 remains the most flouted Act and 3,909 factory owners have faced the Labour Department’s flak since 2007.
 
In 2011, while 259 owners have been challaned under Factories Act, 1948, 705 were challaned under Minimum Wages Act and 49 under Contract Labour Act, 1970. In comparison with 705 in 2011, 1,253 factory owners were challaned under Minimum Wages Act, 1948 in 2010, 770 in 2009, 799 in 2008 and 382 in 2007.

“It is easy for the factory owners and industrialists to hire ignorant and desperate workers from UP and Bihar at lower wages. However, over a time they realise being underpaid and things come to us, resulting in cases under the Minimum Wages Act ,” said a Delhi government official. The Delhi government in April,  2011 had also revised the minimum wages for the workers but many remained ignorant about it. Now, the minimum wages for an unskilled worker in Delhi has been hiked to Rs 256 per day, amounting to monthly salary of Rs 6,156.

The wages in respect of semi-skilled worker has been fixed at Rs 283 per day and monthly salary of Rs 7,358 while in case of a skilled workers, the daily wage has been increased to Rs 312 and salary of Rs 8,112.

Taking increasing complaints into account, Industry Minister Ramakant Goswami in December had ordered the employer to pay the salaries to their workers via cheques or directly into their bank accounts. “This is our government’s attempt to ensure full and assured payment of wages to people working in the city,” Goswami had said.

Besides the complaint-based inspections, suo motu inspections and periodical surveys are also undertaken by the Labour Department to book the offender factory and industry owners. According to Labour Department, keeping in mind the rise in trading and commercial activities in Delhi and in order to provide speedy judicial remedy, the number of Labour Courts has also been increased from 10 to 13 in the past year.

From January 2007 to December 2011, the Labour Department had disposed off 36,210 cases under Minimum Wages Act; 19,737 under Industrial Disputes Act,1947; 1,674 under Bonus Act,1965; 1,556 under Gratuity Act,1972; and 2,609 under Employee Compensation Act,1947.

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