Minimum wage of not less than Rs 18000 for all including scheme workers; link minimum wage with Consumer Price Index
How is it justified? The Seventh Pay Commission for the central government employees appointed by the BJP led government has recommended Rs 18000 as minimum wage. According to the Seventh Pay Commission, this was based upon the formula unanimously adopted by the 15th Indian Labour Conference (ILC) and the directions of the Supreme Court in the Raptakos and Brett case, which was reiterated by the 44th ILC in 2012 and again by the 46th ILC in 2015 (?).
The formula evolved by the 15th ILC for fixing minimum wage and the Supreme Court directions are as follows:
1) Per capita food intake of at least 2700 calories for a worker’s family comprising three units (2 adults and 2 children)
2) Per capita cloth of at least 18 yards per annum
3) Provision of housing as per minimum rent charged by government industrial housing scheme for low-income category
4) Fuel, lighting, miscellaneous expenditures to constitute 20 per cent of the total minimum wage.
5) The Supreme Court Judgment (1992) stipulated additional 25 per cent of the minimum wage for education, medical expense, recreation and provision of old age and marriage to be taken into account while fixing minimum wage.
The Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers has challenged this recommendation on the grounds that the minimum wage should be Rs 26000 on the basis of the ILC recommendation and Supreme Court directions at the prices prevalent in 2015 (?).
However, the BJP led government has accepted the recommendation of the Seventh Pay Commission and decided the minimum wage of Rs 18000 for the central government employees.
The ILC recommendations and Supreme Court directions for minimum wages are the same for all workers and employees. Prices are the same for everybody. In fact, prices of almost all essential commodities, particularly food, have increased since 2015.
Hence, the demand of Rs 18000 minimum wage is absolutely justified. The government should immediately concede the demand.
What the government is doing
Instead of amending the Minimum Wages Act accordingly, the BJP led government has introduced the Code on Wages Bill in the Lok Sabha, amalgamating the Minimum Wages Act, the Payment of Wages Act, The Bonus Act and the Equal Remuneration Act.
The Wage Code Bill has no mention of the 15th ILC formula and Supreme Court directions.