CITU for immediate hike of minimum wages in isles

Port Blair
14 Mar 2017

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has demanded immediate  revision of the minimum wages for the schedule employment in Andaman & Nicobar Islands.   In a letter sent to the Lt. Governor, A & N Islands, B. Chandrachoodan, General Secretary of the CITUI, A & N State Committee, while drawing the attention of the Lt. Governor towards the series of  letters sent to him by  the CITU A & N State Committee, said that the minimum wages was last revised in these islands with effect  from 1st March, 2009 and fixed  Rs. 156  per day (for unskilled mazdoors) and was, thus, due for another revision in 2014 as per the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.  The minimum wages, with the VDA added to it, now stands at Rs. 297 per day.
While forwarding a copy of the Notification dated  March 3, issued by the Govt. of National Capital Territory of Delhi revising the minimum wages of schedule employment, Chandrachoodan informed the Lt. Governor that the rates were last revised in Delhi with effect from July 26, 2011.  As per the new rates, the unskilled mazdoors in Delhi will get Rs. 513 per day.     
The CITU leaders complained to the Lt. Governor that the CITU has been requesting the Administration for the last three years to appoint a committee to recommend the new rates for revision, but no action has been taken by the Administration in this regard, thereby depriving the poor workers of their rightful benefit of statutory wage revision. To add insult to injury, the Administration has been portraying the adjustment/adding of Variable Dearness Allowance every six months as “increase of minimum wages” and wide publicity was being given in the media as if the minimum wages has been revised/increased, CITU told the Lt. Governor. CITU has been objecting to this unjustified and illegal action on the part of the Labour Department.
The CITU told the Lt. Governor that there is no justification whatsoever for not revising the minimum wages for schedule employment as Section 3 (1) (b) of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 cast upon the Lt. Governor a duty to revise the minimum wages after every five years on the basis of the recommendations of the Committee set up for the purpose.  CITU emphatically told the Lt. Governor that any violation of the said Section in a Union Territory directly administered by the Govt. of India is to be viewed seriously and action needed to be taken against the officials concerned who failed to take such steps as per the statute. CITU told the Lt. Governor that  it firmly believe that the Labour Department is  delaying the revision of minimum wages in order to favour the private sector. 
B. Chandrachoodan urged upon the Lt. Governor to go through the letters sent to him by the CITU personally and issue necessary directions to the Labour Department to take necessary steps to enhance the minimum wages in the islands with retrospective effect from 1st March, 2014 as the workers are facing financial hardship to pull on the days with the meager wages of Rs. 156/- plus VDA (Rs. 297) during these hard days when prices are increasing unchecked day-by-day. 
In the meantime, he said the matter was discussed in a meeting of the CITU A & N State Secretariat held on March 11 and the meeting, through a resolution, urged upon the Lt. Governor to enhance the minimum wages to Rs. 700 per day for unskilled workers  in view of the fact that  the unskilled workers of Delhi is getting Rs. 513  per day and  considering the high cost of living prevailing in the islands,  the minimum wages should not be less than Rs. 700 for unskilled workers in  Andaman and Nicobar Islands.