Workers Protest against Delay in Minimum Wage Review

Hundreds of workers in the Venkosh Company in Patna which manufactures hydraulic jacks and is situated in the Pataliputra Industrial Area held a protest on 23 June at the Labour Office (Niyojan Bhavan) on Bailey Road.

A 4-member Union delegation comprising AICCTU State General Secretary RN Thakur, Union Vice President Ranvijay Kumar, AITUC General Secretary Ghaznafar Nawab and Venkosh Union General Secretary Surendra Yadav submitted a memorandum with the workers' demands to the Labour Commissioner.

The labour leaders told that the last minimum wage review was done in 2016; the next review should have been done after 5 years by December 2021 but even after a delay of 7 months no review has been done depriving the workers a benefit of a 15% increase in wages. They said this is not the story of the single company, the unskilled workers among lakhs of unorganized, factory, sanitation workers as well as regular, daily wage and contract workers in Bihar have been deprived of thousands of rupees in monthly wages in absence of wage review. The labour leaders stated the demands of the workers, including minimum wage review every 2 years instead of every 5 years; scrapping the new system of giving VDA every 6 months only on basic pay and reinstatement of the old system of DA on basic pay as well as VDA. The leaders told the Labour Commissioner that DA should be fixed on basic as well as 6-month VDA because the latter also falls within the scope of inflation.

Prior to the talks hundreds of workers took part in protest at the Labour Office and charged the Labour Minister and Labour Commissioner with plundering workers' wages to benefit capitalists and factory owners. The protest was addressed by leaders including Surendra Yadav, Ghaznafar Nawab, Ranvijay Kumar, Jitendra Kumar and RN Thakur.