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Garment Workers Union in Haryana Launch Campaign for Minimum Wages

The Garment and Allied Workers Union (GAWU) in Haryana has launched a renewed campaign demanding the implementation of the revised minimum wages as fixed by the Haryana government.
Garment Workers Union

The Garment and Allied Workers Union (GAWU) in Haryana has launched a renewed campaign demanding the implementation of the revised minimum wages as fixed by the Haryana government.

On September 4, garment workers took out a rally in Udyog Vihar industrial area of Gurgaon, protesting against the rampant violations in payment of the legal minimum wages by garment factories in Gurgaon-Manesar.

In November 2015, the Haryana government had issued a notification revising the basic wages of workers across the four skill categories – unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled and highly skilled. The notification also had specific directions for promotion of workers to the next skill grade according to their work experience.

In 2016 and 2017, government notifications again provided for an increased Dearness Allowance (DA) to be paid over and above the basic wages as mentioned in the 2015 notification.

GAWU collected and analysed more than 400 pay slips of workers employed by different garment companies across Gurgaon-Manesar.

They found blatant violations across the sector – including by the biggest factories – of minimum wage and skill promotion laws.

Workers are not being promoted as per their skill and experience. Skilled workers are being paid at the level of unskilled and semi-skilled workers, and so on.

The Union, led by its president Anannya Bhattacharjee, met the Additional Labour Commissioner (Gurgaon NCR) Ashok Garg. They submitted a memorandum with their demands and findings based on the pay slips.

Speaking to Newsclick, Bhattacharjee said, “The Additional Labour Commissioner has asked us to give him a more detailed analysis of the 400 pay slips. He has promised to take action after we provide him with more data.”

GAWU started the Minimum Wages Campaign in 2015.

In April 2016, GAWU along with several other workers’ unions from other sectors had staged a massive protest for implementation of the minimum wage by companies and submitted a memorandum to the then Additional Labour Commissioner.

But no action was taken by the labour department, said Bhattacharjee.

The September 4 protest march was supported by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), National Trade Union of India (NTUI) and the Maruti Suzuki Kamgaar Union.

CITU Haryana state president Satbir Singh, Ashish Rai of NTUI and Maruti Suzuki Kamgaar Union general-secretary Kuldeep Jhangu also took part in the rally.

The demands are that the minimum wages notifications of the Haryana government be enforced with immediate effect across industries in Gurgaon-Manesar.

GAWU has also demanded a thorough investigation of these violations and separate inspection of companies engaged in all industries, as well as prosecution of the owners and the responsible personnel of companies that are found non-compliant.

The Union has also demanded that companies be ordered to provide proper proof of employment to all workers and to avoid employing workers through contractors, as contractual workers face the maximum violations of their rights. The Union has been demanding an end to contractual labour.

Misappropriation of service records of workers by companies should also be investigated, the memorandum said.

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