after nine years, state govt doubles minimum wages, of factory workers
Amid the ongoing slowdown, the Maharashtra government has doubled the minimum wages of factory workers in the state. The hike in minimum wages has taken place after a gap of nine years. However, the labour unions have termed the decision as an election gimmick ahead of the state Assembly polls.
As per the revised wages, the wages of workers in the municipal corporation limits have been increased from Rs 5,500 to Rs 12,605 for skilled workers, from Rs 5,000 to Rs 11,445 for semi-skilled workers and from Rs 4,500 to Rs 10,350 for unskilled workers.Officials from the Labour department said the revision of minimum wages takes place after every five years and this decision would benefit more than 25 lakh workers in the state.
In the municipal council limits, it has been increased from Rs 5,200 to Rs 11,770 for skilled workers, from Rs 4,700 to Rs 10,800 for semi-skilled workers and from Rs 4,200 to Rs 9,705 for non-skilled workers.
In the rest of the state, it has been increased from Rs 4,900 to Rs 11,255 for skilled workers, from Rs 4,400 to Rs 10,160 for semi-skilled workers and from Rs 3,900 to Rs 9,000 for unskilled workers.
Officials from the Labour department said the last time the minimum wages were revised were in July 2010 and could not be revised after that as the state minimum wage advisory committee was not formed by the state. “The revision of the minimum wages requires recommendation from board, which was formed only in November 2018. So, this revision comes after a delay of nine years from last revision,” said an official. According to the department, the state has approximately 37,000 registered factories with more than 25 lakh employees.
Raghunath Kuchik, chairman of the Maharashtra Minimum Wages Advisory Board, said the wages have been doubled though the decision was pending for nine years. “The wages have been increased as per the norms and considering all the factors till July this year. It will benefit almost 40 lakh workers employed in the factories across the state,” said Kuchik.
However, D L Karad, national vice president of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), termed it as a gimmick ahead of the Assembly polls. “The government should have revised the minimum wages immediately after coming to power. But, it has revised the wages just a few days before the Assembly polls. So, the government’s intention is not in the interest of workers but to show that it is doing something for them,” said Karad.
Karad further said that they had demanded a minimum wage of Rs 18,000 for workers. “The revision of wages is very less in comparison. There was no opposition from company managements for increasing the wages. It is sad that the board did not consider our demands,” he added.