At present, states are not bound to implement the Minimum Wages Act. The Cabinet has already approved the Bill earlier this year.
Unskilled workers in states, including Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa and Tripura, get less than the NFLMW of R115, while it is much higher in Kerala and Delhi. Even within a state, wages offered to unskilled workers vary a lot — R69-231.71 a day in Andhra Pradesh, R85.20-353 in Kerala, R88.29-222.35 in Tamil Nadu, R100-248.15 in Maharashtra and R98.67-200.77 in Uttarakhand. Though the government introduced a variable dearness allowance (VDA) in 1989 to protect wages against inflation, at least 11 states and Union Territories have failed to implement it.
Industrial unrest is rising in not just small units but also big companies like Maruti Suzuki and Bajaj Auto, as wage hikes have not kept pace with the rising prices of essential items. In recent years, trade unions have been protesting against the growing tendency among corporates to hire more contract workers at low salaries to meet higher production targets during economic boom and lay them off during slowdown to protect profit margins.