Minimum wage report more concerned for employers: CITU

Minimum wage report more concerned for employers: CITU

PTI File photo for representation.

A government panel's recommendation to fix minimum wages between Rs 8,892 and Rs 11,622 per month has invited criticism from a section of the trade unions with the CITU saying it was meant to “facilitate” ease of doing business and “loot” workers.

In a letter to Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar, CITU General Secretary Tapan Sen said the trade union movement rejects the recommendation of the expert committee and urged upon the government to reject it "altogether", saying the report was a "total betrayal of the just and genuine aspiration" of the workers who “actually create the GDP” for the country.

DH had on Sunday reported about the 'Report of the Expert Committee on Determining the Methodology for Fixing the National Minimum Wage', which recommended either an increase national minimum wage (NMW) to Rs 9,750 per day across India from the existing Rs 176 or categorise states according to their socio-economic and labour market situation and provide it in a range of Rs 8892 to Rs 11,622 per month.

Sen said the trade unions have demanded that the minimum wage should not be less than Rs 18,000 and it should be enforced throughout the country after linking it with the price indices. 

Also Read: Double minimum wage or fix it region wise: Panel

Noting that the panel's minimum wage was “way below” the Seventh Pay Commission's figure of Rs 18,000, he reminded that the government has accepted the latter's recommendation. The trade unions also agreed with it despite the formula adopted in Indian Labour Conferences and Supreme Court directions had showed that the minimum wages should not be lesser than Rs 22,000, he said.

Alleging that the committee has been more concerned to ensure 'ease of doing business' to facilitate employers to "loot and exploit workers", the letter questioned how it can recommend a lower minimum wage when it counted 3.6 consumption units in family instead of three consumption units considered by original formula passed by the Indian Labour Conference. 

"It is ridiculous that even after increasing the family size, the recommended minimum wage based on such increase has actually gone down than what was based on earlier family size. Should the working people, who actually create GDP for the country deserve such a cruel joke?" Sen wrote.

He said the recommendations were "arbitrary, devoid of any scientific basis and grossly violative of the unanimously agreed formula" set out by the successive Indian Labour Conferences, and hence is "liable to be outrightly rejected".

"The committee very surprisingly gave reference to the calculation procedure of minimum pay as determined by seventh pay commission as per which the minimum pay was fixed at Rs 18,000 on 1 January 2016. But it has unhesitatingly determined the minimum wage even in the so-called high paid region, which includes Delhi as Rs11,622 that too with effect from 1 July 2018 i.e. two and a half years after the recommendation of 7th Central Pay Commission. Was there a substantial reduction in the inflation rate in the country in the intervening period?" he asked.