November 03, 2019

DELHI: New Minimum Wages for Unskilled Workers

THE CPI(M) Delhi state committee, in a statement issued on October 30, has welcomed the announcement of the AAP government fixing monthly minimum wage of unskilled workers at Rs 14,842. It also welcomed enhancement in wages of semi-skilled and skilled workers. This is the result of prolonged struggles by the Left trade unions and workers of Delhi as well as the successful legal fight waged by them in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court. The CPI(M) heartily congratulates the workers of Delhi for this victory.   

The minimum wage of Rs 14,842 per month notified for Delhi stands in sharp contrast to the National Floor Level Minimum Wage of Rs 4,628 per month (Rs 178 per day) proposed by the central BJP government as part of the Code on Wages Bill 2019. This exposes the anti-worker character of the BJP and its central government.

While welcoming the new minimum wage notification, CPI(M) underlined the fact that the overwhelming majority of Delhi’s workers do not get minimum wages. This is starkly borne out by the survey of establishments and firms undertaken by the labour department, government of NCT of Delhi under the name of ‘Mission Minimum Wages’ in December 2018. Its findings showed that minimum wages were not being implemented in 98per cent of the cases. 

This is the result of lack of any serious attempt by the state government to put in place the requisite machinery to enforce implementation of minimum wages. The labour department in Delhi is grossly understaffed. There are currently just 15 labour enforcement officers in the 31 industrial areas in Delhi. CPI(M) demanded that at least one such officer be posted in each of these industrial areas to ensure implementation of the new minimum wages. The state government must also take steps to curb rampant corruption in the labour department. The state government will have to face the wrath of the working class of Delhi if the criminal neglect in implementing minimum wages is not put an end to, said the statement.