Govt, trade unions differ on contract labour

New Delhi, Jul 19 (PTI) Differences persisted over the contentious issues of contract labour and minimum wages between central trade unions and the government at a meeting here today, on the eve of the 46th Indian Labour Conference.

Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya
Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya
There were, however, points of convergence over certain other issues including recognition of trade unions, amendment to the Bonus Act and provision for greater social security benefits for workers.

The high-level meeting was attended by representatives of central trade unions and members of an inter-ministerial panel comprising Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh.

“There is consensus on the issues of recognition of trade unions, (the) Bonus Act and matters related to social security of workers. There is gap (differences) on issues related to contract labour and minimum wages. Discussions are in progress on these issues,” Dattatreya told reporters after the meeting.

Trade union leaders, however, stressed that there was no consensus and they would go ahead with the planned nation-wide strike on September 2 to press for their demand.

“There is no consensus or agreement on any issue. We have not come here with any expectation of having consensus on any issue with this government,” All India Trade Union Congress Secretary D L Sachdev said, adding the issue of strike did not come up for discussion.

“The issue of central trade unions’ call for a day-long strike on September 2 was not discussed so we have not responded on that. Our resolve to go ahead with the strike on September 2 has not changed,” Sachdev said.

While the trade unions are demanding similar wages and services conditions for contract labour as available to regular employees, the government is reluctant to concede to their demand. The trade unions are demanding a minimum wage of Rs 15,000 per month across the country, up from Rs 5,000 to Rs 9,000 in different states.

The 46th session of Indian Labour Conference (ILC), beginning here tomorrow, will discuss various labour issues.