Trade unions refuse to call off September 2 strike

New Delhi (IANS) The central trade unions have refused to call off their countrywide strike on September 2 against labour reforms after a fresh meeting on Thursday with the group of ministers headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley remained inconclusive.

All India Trade Union Congress secretary D. L. Sachdev said after the meeting that there was no consensus and “the call for the strike still stands”.

“Today’s meeting was inconclusive…We will meet tomorrow (Friday) to decide our future course of action,” he said.

The central trade unions had given a call of strike on September 2 to press for their demands, including increasing minimum wage to Rs.15,000, trade unions’ representation in the process of labour reforms and equivalent wage to contract workers with their regular counterparts.

“We don’t think government has offered us anything on which we can consider to call off our strike,” Sachdev said.

The GoM had a meeting with the representatives of 11 central trade unions on Wednesday to discuss their 12-charter of demands. However, the meeting failed to make any headway.

Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh president Baij Nath Rai said the workers would go on the strike until the government agrees to their demands.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is also member of the GoM, however, said the talks were “positive” and appealed the unions to call off their strike in the interest of the country.

Besides Jaitley and Pradhan, the GoM comprises Labour Mininter Bandaru Dattatreya, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension Jitendra Singh and Power Minister Piyush Goyal.

A labour ministry release later said the government had assured the trade unions that it was committed to welfare of labourers, and all labour laws reforms would be done with due discussions and tripartite consultations, it added.

The government also assured the unions for a appropriate legislation for making “formula based minimum wages mandatory” and applicable to all employees across the country.

On the issue of equal wages for equal work for contract workers, the government said it was an issue requiring wider consultations and a committee would be constituted, if required.

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