Unions reject govt offer, to go ahead with strike

Unions reject govt offer, to go ahead with strike

Unions reject govt offer, to go ahead with strike

The government’s attempt to dissuade the central trade unions from going on a nationwide strike on September 2 has failed.

The Centre on Tuesday announced a hike in the minimum wages of unskilled non-agricultural workers of the Central sphere and other measures such as payment of two-year bonus to government employees. But the unions rejected the offer and decided to go ahead with their strike. All the major sectors except the railways will join the shutdown.

“BMS (Bharat Mazdoor Sangh) is not associated with the strike call. Instead of talking to the central trade unions who gave the strike call, the government has chosen to talk to a non-striking union. The government has not accepted any of our demands. We will go on strike,” All India Trade Union Congress secretary Amarjeet Kaur told DH.

The Centre increased the minimum wages of unskilled non-agricultural workers of ‘C’ category of the Central sphere to Rs 350 per day from Rs 246. It also declared bonus for government employees for 2014-15 and 2015-16 to be paid based on the revised norms. The likely financial implication of these measures is Rs 1,920 crore per annum.

Announcing the government’s decision, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who heads the Inter-ministerial Group on Labour, said the government would take necessary steps to resolve the cases relating to payment of bonus in high courts and the Supreme Court. He also promised strict implementation of the Bonus Amendment Act.

Registration of contract workers and their staffing agencies is mandatory and the states will be advised to strictly implement the same, Jaitley said. “Contractors will face appropriate action for any violation,” he said.

The government also decided to set up a committee to examine the issue of benefit to the unorganised sector (anganwadi, midday meal, Asha volunteers). The committee will submit its report shortly.

Rejecting the government offer, Kaur said, “We are demanding a minimum wage of more than Rs 15,000. The wage declared (today by the government) works out to Rs 10,500.”
Kaur said the declaration on bonus payment was misleading. The government had already agreed to implement the Bonus Amendment Act with retrospective effect, she added.