The Government today introduced in the Lok Sabha ‘The Code on Wages’ bill which seeks to empower the Centre to fix a “universal minimum wage” aimed to benefit over 40 crore unorganised sector workers. ‘The Code on Wages’ Bill to consolidate and amend the laws relating to wages and bonus was introduced in the House by Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya. The bill seeks to amalgamate four laws — Payment of Wages Act 1936, Minimum Wages Act 1948, Payment of Bonus Act 1965 and Equal Remuneration Act 1976. “It is for simplification, rationalisation and making it less cumbersome. No way workers’ right is being infringed… It is going to bring in a historical change in the wages for workers and universal minimum wages will be implemented for the first time in India,” Dattatreya said.
The Minister said he has held meetings with trade unions as well as labour secretaries and ministers from the states while drafting the bill. “40 crore unorganised sector workers can avail the universal minimum wage. The bill has a very large prespective. As far as workers’ right is concerned, it is in no way exploitation of workers,” Dattatreya said. The bill would help generate employment and attract entrepreneurs, he said, adding that there were 44 labour laws which were being clubbed in four codes and the bill introduced today deals with the code on wages.
As N K Premachandran (RSP) opposed the introduction of the bill in such a short notice, the government sought to assuage the concerns saying the Bill is being only introduced and discussion would take place later.