Trade unions to observe strike on September 2

New Delhi: A day after a meeting of the central trade unions and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley-led ministerial panel failed to make any headway, the labour associations on Friday decided to go on with their proposed strike on September 2.

"We have decided to go on with the strike. Whatever the government has offered, we don't find any concrete thing to consider postponement of the strike," Centre of Indian Trade Unions president A.K. Padmanabhan told IANS.

The decision was reached after a dozen of central trade unions met here on Friday to decide their future course of action, following inconclusive two rounds of discussion with the ministerial-panel on the demands which include increasing minimum wage to Rs.15,000 and giving equivalent wage to contract workers with their regular workers.

Besides Jaitley, other ministers in the panel included union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State (MoS) in PMO Jitendra Singh.

The panel assured for an appropriate legislation for making "formula based minimum wages mandatory" and applicable to all employees across the country.

Besides emphasising that labour laws reforms would be based on tripartite consultations, it suggested an increase in the bonus ceiling as well as expanding the coverage of social security to include construction workers, aanganwari, social health and mid-day meal workers.

But All India Trade Union Congress secretary D. L. Sachdev told IANS: "The decision on the strike stands. There is no ground on which the strike can be deferred. Whatever government has offered is unsatisfactory. We are not convinced by the version of the government."

Indian National Trade Union Congress president G. Sanjeeva Reddy also extended its support for the proposed strike.

However, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh general secretary Virjesh Upadhayay said the strike should be deferred as the government has taken some 'steps forward'.

"We should give time to the government. I have appealed to other unions to take a decision on deferment of the strike," he said.

Upadhayay said the government has taken "positive steps" in enhancing the minimum wages, widening social security, increasing ceiling on bonus, and assuring proper representation of union in the process of labour reforms.

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