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NREGA wages should be 'part of' floor level minimum wages, much above Rs 178


By Our Representative
Strongly protesting against the Central government’s plan to keep NREGA workers outside the purview of whatever floor level minimum wage is declared, the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM) has said that while the BJP government’s Wage Code bill in the Lok Sabha on July 24 2019 which would fix a national floor level minimum wage, the Rural Development Minister “has stated that NREGA wages will continue to be less than this national floor level minimum wage.”
“This implies that NREGA workers will continue to be exploited and will be forced to work at pittance wages”, NSM said, adding, “Ironically, this will result in the Central government disobeying a law that it is making mandatory for everyone else. It will also result in shutting out one of the largest sections of our rural work force from a right that will apply to all other workers.”
Insisting that MGNREGA wages must be “a decent, dignified wage and above the national floor level wage”, MSM demanded that “a clause to this effect must be included in the forthcoming Wage Code bill.”
According to NSM, the Centre of Indian Trade Union’s “recommendations of the 15th Labour Conference, along with the Supreme Court orders in the Reptakos Brett case, should form the basis of fixing the minimum wage.”
It added, “On this basis, the national floor level minimum wage should be at least Rs 700-800 per day. Instead the last floor level minimum wage (which is not mandatory, at the moment, but only suggestive) declared by the Central Government recently has been only Rs 178.”
“We have also observed that in the calculation for minimum wage, the average family size is being taken as 2 adults and 2 children, but in reality average family sizes are larger. We demand that the government should consider the unit family size as 3 adults and 2 children“, it added.

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