In an attempt to appease trade unions that have threatened to go on strike, Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley today announced a hike in minimum wages from the current $3.67 (246 INR) to $5.22 (350 INR)for unskilled workers per day.
"In the past one-and-a-half years, the inter-ministerial committee had a meeting with central trade unions. Trade unions placed various demands. Some were labour-related and some economic policy issues related. The government has taken some decisions with regard to those on the basis of their recommendations," added Jaitley.
The decision was taken following a meeting under the chairmanship of the Indian labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya, also attended by power minister Piyush Goyal. The registration of the contract workers and their staffing agencies is mandatory and states will be advised to strictly implement the same, the finance minister said. Errant contractors will face appropriate action for any violation, he warned.
Asked about the strike call, Jaitley said: "I think we have responsible trade unions."
Jaitley told the media that the two years worth of bonus will be paid to Indian central government employees based on revised norms. The Bonus Amendment Act will be implemented "strictly". Workers employed by the state governments, however, are not covered under the Act.
The likely financial implications of the bonus move translate into $286 million (Rs1,920 crore) per annum.
As many as 10 central trade unions have given a call for a one-day nationwide strike on September 2, 2016, to protest against Prime Minister Modi's labour reforms.
Tapan Sen, the general secretary of the Centre of Trade Unions, said earlier today the strike would go on despite Jaitley's promise that the government would release state employees' bonuses for the last two years and increase minimum wages, Reuters reported.