Govt notifies revised minimum wages for all categories

38 pc hike taken into account

20 objections from stakeholders considered

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Oct 13: The Labour and Employment Department of the UT Government today notified revised minimum rates of wages in respect of scheduled appointments including unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled, highly skilled and Administrative/Ministerial.
A notification to this effect was issued today by Commissioner/Secretary to Government Sarita Chauhan.
Excelsior had recently reported exclusively that the Advisory Board constituted by the Government has recommended 38 percent increase in minimum wages equivalent to the Dearness Allowance the Government employees are getting at present.
The revised rates include Rs 311 per day for unskilled workers, Rs 400 for semi-skilled, Rs 483 for skilled staff, Rs 552 for highly skilled and Rs 449 for Administrative/ Ministerial workers.
Among other sections, the revision in Minimum Wages Act will also benefit daily wagers, some of whom are on strike for past quite some time.
“Unskilled work means work which involved simple operations requiring little or no skill or experience on the job while semi-skilled means work which involved skill or competence acquired through experience on the job,” the Government notification said.
It said skilled work means work which involves skill or competence acquired through experience on the job (for more time as compared to semi-skilled in similar nature of work) or through training as an apprentice in a technical or vocational institute and the performance of which calls for initiative and judgment.
Highly skilled work means which calls for a degree or perfection and full competence in the performance of certain tasks including clerical work experience for certain reasonable period and required of worker to assume full responsibility for the judgment or decision involved in the execution of tasks.
The order said a notification was published in the Government gazette under the Minimum Wages Act whereby the proposal for revising the minimum rates of wages was issued for inviting objections/ suggestions/comments from the persons likely to be affected, within a period of two months.
“In pursuance to the notification, 20 objections/ suggestions/ comments were received by the department within the stipulated period of two months, which were placed before the Advisory Board constituted under the Act, for consultation. The subsequent recommendations made by the Advisory Board were taken into consideration by the Government,” the order read.
The Advisory Board had earlier said it considered written objections and suggestions expressed by the members during the meetings and was of the opinion that revised rates notified by the Government provide a sufficiently comparable increase in the minimum wages.
“A minimum wage is only the minimum amount of remuneration that an employer is required to pay to the wage earners for the work performed during a given period and the objective is to prevent exploitation. The revision is not any detailed economic exercise and it excludes any other provision or allowances that the employer may extend to the worker,” the Board had observed.
Therefore, it said, it is not a limiting rate but is guided by other market dynamics such as labour availability and economic activity of a region. It observed that there are specific provisions in the Act regarding payment of wages on weekly off days and on holidays and therefore the per day minimum wage rate as notified by the Government is appropriate.
The Advisory Board was headed by RR Bhatnagar, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor and comprised Vivek Bhardwaj, the then Additional Chief Secretary (Finance), Shailendra Kumar, Principal Secretary Works, Sarita Chauhan, Commissioner Secretary, Labour & Employment, Abdul Rashid War, Labour Commissioner, MY Itoo, DG Budget, Ali Mohammad, DGM J&K Industries, Obaid Riyaz, DGM J&K Industries and representatives of Industrial Association and trade union leaders.