Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said the Central government was fully committed to safeguard the interests of the workers, especially those working in the MSME and the unorganized sector.
Holding pre-Budget consultations with representatives of different trade union groups, he said the workers were entitled to minimum wages prescribed by law and asked all the industries concerned to strictly comply with this without fail.
During the meeting, nine of the trade unions jointly gave a common memorandum on behalf of the workers they represent which contained 12 point charter of demands including increased budgetary allocations for social sector, measures to check the prices of essential commodities and stopping disinvestment and strategic sale of public sector undertakings.
They also demanded fixing minimum wages for all workers on the basis of the 15th Indian Labour Conference recommendations, and linked with Consumer Price Index.
Other suggestions included provisions for “same wages for same work”, creation of support system for domestic workers, bringing about Labour Law reforms and creation of a National Fund for unorganised sector workers to provide social security, a statement from the Finance Ministry said.
“Other demands include the raising of the ceiling for income tax purposes for salaried class persons and pensioners up to Rs 5 lakh per annum, and Rs 8 lakh in case of senior citizens,” it added.
They also suggested that income gap between rich and poor be checked by taxing rich people who can afford to pay.
Among the major trade groups present during the meeting included Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Indian National Trade Union Congress, All India Trade Union Congress, Hind Mazdoor Sabha and National Front of Indian Trade Unions.