The Karnataka Shramika Shakti has demanded that the government increase the minimum wage for 77 scheduled employments that will benefit over three crore workers, in both the organised and the unorganised sectors, in the State.

Addressing reporters here on Tuesday, labour advocate S. Balan demanded that the minimum wage must be increased to Rs. 20,640 a month. He said that despite inflation and increase in the price of essential commodities, the minimum wage notified by the government ranged between Rs. 173 and Rs. 246 a day.

“With elections round the corner, the political parties are promising rice at Rs. 2 a kg, mangalsutra for couples to be married at mass marriages and even mini laptops. However, not a single party has spoken for the workers and how unjust the notified minimum wage are,” he said.

Article 43

Mr. Balan said that Article 43 of the Constitution stipulates that “the State shall endeavour to secure, by suitable legislation or economic organisation or any other work, to all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life”. He said that the minimum wage includes food, clothing, housing and education. “The wage is unfair for the workers, and it is profitable only to the employers, who are corporates and MNCs,” he added

H.V. Vasu from Karnataka Janashakti stated that the minimum wage sought was calculated as per the expenditure incurred to buy food recommended by the Indian Council of Medical Research and not randomly.

“Given the ICMR’s nutritional recommendations, a person will have to spend Rs. 71.50 a day on just food. The total expenditure incurred by one person, including housing, education, cooking, health, clothing and transportation, will add up to Rs. 172 a day.

“A family of four will be spending Rs. 688 a day. This is why the minimum wage should be increased to Rs. 20,640 a month,” he said.

He said that if the notification is not revoked and minimum wage revised, the labour organisation would burn copies of the notification on May 1, International Labour Day.

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