BENGALURU: Garments and Textile Workers Union (GATWU) protested in front of the office of the Labour department at Dairy Circle here on Thursday against what they called “delay in implementation of minimum wages for garment workers.”
In February 2018, the state government proposed to increase the wages from Rs 7,000-Rs 8,000 to Rs 11,557 per month. However, the notification was withdrawn and a case was filed in the Karnataka High Court. The court, in March 2019, ordered to fix the minimum wages in six months. However, nothing has been done so far, they rued.
Meanwhile, garment workers, most of whom are women, have been facing hardships in making ends meets, they said.
Prathiba R, GATWU president, said, “Women workers, who depend on their income to meet the household needs, are unable to do so and are driven to skip meals each day. The wages have to be revised once every 3-5 years ... but have remained stagnant for the last six years. This is the extent of apathy shown by the government towards women workers.” “In a meeting held on September 5 between management of factories, labour union members and the government, the matter was discussed and factory owners agreed on a mere 9% increase in wages. This would mean an additional Rs 350 per day as opposed to Rs 478 sought,” said Pratibha.
“For the first time, the government sided with the factory owners. In a show of hands, where we all voted for the 9% proposal, they took the side of the factory owners,” Pratibha said.
Labour Department officials, however, told TNIE, “We had submitted a report to former Labour Commissioner Prakash who presided over the minimum wage committee meetings. It will be sent to the state government and they will take a call.”
“Factory owners threaten to shut down or move to other states if wages are hiked to Rs 11,557 per month. The government will have to take a call by September 29 as per the court order” said Vinutha, assistant labour commissioner, Minimum Wages Advisory Board.