Mumbai: Trade unions in Maharashtra will be approaching the Bombay High Court as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has failed to form the Minimum Wages Advisory Committee (MWAC) after it assumed power in October 2014. This has resulted in no increase of minimum wages for workers of 32 industries.
Sources in the labour department told The Hindu that the file regarding appointments to the MWAC has been pending with the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) for the last six months.
“We had written a letter seeking the government’s response on non-formation of the MWAC. The government neither responded to us nor issued a statement about the development. The formation of the committee is mandated under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, and therefore we have decided to seek the High Court’s intervention,” D.L. Karad, national vice-president and state president of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), said.
Under the Act, the State government has a constitutional obligation to modify the minimum wages every five years. The previous committee was set up in 2010.
In the letter addressed to Labour Minister Sambhaji Nilangekar-Patil, the CITU had listed 32 industries where the minimum wages has not been revised since 2010. The MWAC has powers to issue directions to a particular industry asking them to revise minimum wages, following which a notification is issued. The Hindu had, on April 5, reported about lack of response from the government to the issue.
Mr. Karad said the decision has been pending at the behest of industry owners. “The government does not have to pay from its pocket, but it is clearly under pressure from industries,” he said.
Officials in the labour department, however, pointed fingers at the CMO. “We had recommended the formation of the committee six months ago. But we are yet to hear anything,” an official said.