Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, the Minister of State(IC) for Labour and Employment held a press conference here today. Elaborating on the initiatives and continuing efforts of the Government to address the issues and concerns of the Trade Unions for the welfare of workers, the Minister said that of the twelve demands of Trade Unions, the Government is positively working on at least nine demands. Shri Dattatreya said that as already assured while taking Labour Law reforms, the Trade Unions will be consulted.
In continuation of earlier appeal to Trade Unions on 27th August, 2015, the Minister appealed again to reconsider their call for proposed strike tomorrow in the interest of workers and the Nation.
Inthis context, Shri Bandaru Dattatreya has sent a letter to to striking Trade Unions.
Here is the text of the letter-
“This is with reference to my letter and appeal to you for reconsidering your call for strike on 2nd of September 2015 in the light of demands raised by the Central Trade Unions. While requesting you to reconsider your decision, I would like to bring the following to your consideration.
“The Charter of Demands given by you has been on high priority for me. I had held meeting with you on 19th Nov., 2014 to discuss the issues concerning the Charter of Demands. Thereafter, another meeting was held on 15th May, 2015 where Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon’ble MoS (IC) for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Shri Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble MoS (IC) for Power also participated. The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC), constituted by Hon’ble Prime Minister, held its first meeting with you on 19th July, 2015.
“The second meeting of IMC to discuss the various issues relating to the Charter of Demands with Central Trade Unions was held for two days on 26th& 27th August, 2015.
“In view of the suggestions given by you in the meetings held by Inter-Ministerial Committee, the Government assured the following:
1. “Government is seriously considering amendments to the Minimum Wages Act to give minimum wages to all workers. As per the proposed amendment, the Central Government will prescribe National Minimum Wage for three different categories of States. It would be mandatory for the States to fix their minimum wage not below the National Minimum Wage so prescribed by the Central Government. If the minimum wage already notified by a State is higher than the National Minimum Wage prescribed by the Central Government, the higher notified minimum wage shall prevail.
“While prescribing the National Minimum Wage the norms given by ILC and Supreme Court judgement will be taken into consideration. At present the National Floor Level Minimum Wage is Rs. 160 per day but with the implementation of the said norms the minimum wage would be not less than Rs. 273 per day.
2. “For the purpose of bonus, the wage eligibility limit and calculation ceiling would be appropriately revised. It is proposed to revise the wage eligibility limit from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 21,000 and calculation ceiling from Rs. 3500 to Rs. 7,000 or the minimum wage notified by the appropriate Government for that category of employment, whichever is higher. With the proposed revision of the minimum wages, the average calculation ceiling would be about Rs.10,000.
3. “The Government has taken many steps for the social security of all the workers, especially unorganized workers. The Government is working out ways to include construction workers, rickshaw pullers, auto rickshaw drivers and volunteers of different schemes like Aanganwadi Centres, Mid Day Meal Centres etc. For organized workers also many initiatives have been taken like Universal Account Number (UAN) for portability of account for EPFO members and Second Generation Health Reform Initiatives by ESIC.
4. “Regarding contract workers, a comprehensive review of the existing Act is being considered. The main features of the proposed revised Act would be deployment of contract labour through registered staffing agencies to be encouraged to ensure social security coverage and same working condition for contract workers as that of the regular workers. The issue of same wages to contract workers as that of regular workers for same nature of work requires wider consultation and a committee will be constituted for this purpose, if required.
5. “Government has already enhanced minimum pension for EPFO members and every pensioner gets minimum pension of Rs.1,000 per month perpetually.
6. “Labour Law reforms will be based on tripartite consultations as already stated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister. The States are also being advised to follow the tripartite process. I have held many tripartite consultation meetings with you on proposed labour law amendments. In future also, the tripartite consultation will be held for any proposed change in the labour laws.
7. “For strict adherence to Labour Law enforcement, advisory has been issued to the States and strict monitoring has been initiated by the Central Government. I have written a D.O. letter dated 25.05.2015 to Chief Ministers of all the States for strict enforcement of Labour Laws. Secretary (L&E) has also written D.O. letters dated 27.05.2015 and 26.08.2015 to Chief Secretaries of all the States in this regard. A circular for strict enforcement of labour laws was also issued by the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) on 26/08/2015.
8. “For employment generation, the Government has taken many initiatives like Make in India, Skill India, Mudra Yojana and National Career Service Portal etc.
9. “Abolition of interviews for all recruitments at relatively junior level jobs which do not require any special knowledge/expertise is being done for transparency and expediting the process of recruitment.
10. “Inflation is lowest in last many years except for two items, onions and pulses. Government is taking necessary steps to contain the prices of these two commodities also.
11. “The Hon’ble Finance Minister in his concluding remarks has very clearly said that the new Government has charted out a very pragmatic economic agenda for the benefit of everyone, especially those who are poor and disadvantaged section of the society. However, this agenda needs your support and will appreciate if we can get your valuable inputs on this. He has also assured that for this a continuous dialogue will be maintained with the labour unions.
12. “He also mentioned that as far as the FDI in Railways is concerned, it is necessary because Railways require huge investment for upgrading the .infrastructure. This is possible only with the help of private sector and hence FDI is being allowed in railways and the FDI will be only in infrastructure and will not be allowed in the operation of Railways.
13. “As far as FDI in Defence is concerned, the Finance Minister has explained that India is the largest importer of military hardware in the world and this means a large amount of funds are being paid in foreign exchange to outsiders including private organizations. On the other side when we produce military hardware within the country, we not only save in terms of foreign exchange but also create many jobs within the country. Hence it is very important that we take advantage of FDI in defence to achieve three objectives of (i) saving foreign exchange, (ii) creation of jobs and (iii) more importantly to ensure that we are not dependent on outsiders for the security of the nation.
Finally, as the Hon’ble Prime Minister has already stated, the journey of labour reforms will not be meaningful until we have dialogue and consultation with the labour and labour unions. I assure that we will have consultations with labour unions and give due weightage to the views of labour unions in all such initiatives including the initiatives of other Departments which may affect the labour.
With warm regards.”