Vol. XLIII No. 08 February 24, 2019

CITU Rejects Recommendations of Minimum Wage Panel

CITU general secretary Tapan Sen has written to the minister of labour and employment, rejecting the recommendations of the expert committee on minimum wage. He demanded that the minimum wage be fixed at Rs 18,000 per month and enforced across the country.

In the letter to Santosh Gangware on February 19, Sen said that the report of “the so-called expert committee on determining the methodology for fixing the national minimum wage…is in our hand”. The report as it appears is a total betrayal of the just and genuine aspiration of the workers in general who actually create the GDP for the country as a whole.

The expert committee recommended, in the name of national minimum wage, amounts ranging from Rs 8,892 to Rs 11,622 per month meant for unskilled worker which is way below the level of minimum wage recommended by the 7th Pay Commission as on 2016 based on ILC recommendation. The demands scientifically formulated by the entire trade union movement in the country and also by successive Indian Labour Conferences (ILC) have been ignored with arrogance.

The minimum wage determined by the committee is far below the demand of Rs 18,000 per month, besides it being 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.

If the calculations are made based on the formula adopted in the ILC and subsequent Supreme Court directions, the minimum wage demand should not have been lesser than Rs 22,000, as the trade union movement in the country raised their united voice demanding Rs 18,000 as minimum wage during 2016 when the government accepted this amount recommended by the 7th Pay Commission calculated on the basis of formula recommended by successive ILCs.

“The committee very surprisingly gave reference to the calculation procedure of minimum pay as determined by the Seventh Central Pay Commission as per which the minimum pay was fixed at Rs 18,000 on 01.01.2016. But it has unhesitantly determined the minimum wage even in the so called high paid region IV which includes NCR of Delhi as Rs 11,622 that too w.e.f. 1st July 2018 i.e. two-and-a-half years after the recommendation of 7th Central Pay Commission. Was there substantial reduction in the inflation rate in the country in the intervening period?” Sen wrote.

It is further understood that while giving the recommendations, the committee has reportedly claimed to have considered the overall framework and guiding principles of Indian Labour Conference of 1957 and the Supreme Court judgment of 1992 in the case of Workmen Vs Raptakos Brett & Co. Such a claim is nothing but a deliberate attempt to play with untruth in order to befool the working class and the trade union movement. The recommendation is even much less than the one determined by the Minimum Wage Advisory Board of Delhi government (Rs 14,000 plus) which has duly been notified.

“It is interesting to note that your expert committee has counted 3.6 consumption units in every family while calculating the minimum wage, instead of 3 consumption units considered by original formula passed by ILC. 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?”

It is unfortunate that the expert committee, instead of working for formulating the minimum wage to ensure human survival of the working people, has been more concerned to ensure “ease of doing business” to facilitate the employers to loot and exploit the workers.

The trade union movement rejects the recommendation of the so-called expert committee and urges upon the labour ministry and the government to reject the same altogether. The trade union movement demands that the minimum wage or for that matter the national minimum wage should not be less than Rs 18,000 as on 2016 and be enforced throughout the country irrespective of the regions as the bottom-line for all kinds of salaries and wages and this minimum wage should be linked with the movement of price indices.

“We urge upon you to do the needful in responding to the just demand of the entire trade union movement of the country in the interest of fairness and propriety,” Sen said.