Shri Arvind Kejriwal
Government of NCT of Delhi
Secretariat, IP Estate
New Delhi -110002
Subject: Lakhs of workers in Delhi denied statutory minimum wages
Dear Arvind ji,
Trade Unions have gone for all India strike on September 02 demanding minimum wage of Rs.15000/- per month. Presently, minimum wages for unskilled worker in Delhi is 9048/- pm. However, on average, male worker is paid Rs.6000/- pm and female worker is paid Rs.5000/- pm. It is a crude exploitation of the lakhs of workers in Delhi affecting their standard of living. Labour Laws like ESI Act & Provident Fund Act etc. are also not implemented.
It would be relevant to reproduce here under article 43 of the Constitution of India:-
“Article 43 – Living wage, etc., for workers: The State shall endeavour to secure, by suitable legislation or economic organisation or in any other way, to all workers, agricultural, industrial, or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operative basis in rural areas.”
Forget Living Wage. Forget Fair Wage. Here is a case where State has failed even to ensure minimum wages to the workers. Resultantly, workers are forced to live and work in inhuman conditions. The Hon’ble Supreme Court way back in 1983 in Asiad case held that payment of wages less than the statutory minimum wages attracts article 23 of Constitution of India that prohibits traffic in human beings and forced labour. If we go by this law, over 30% of the working population of Delhi could be easily termed as ‘Begar’. Our leaders talk of making Capital City of Delhi a Smart City. However, without making any endeavour to ameliorate the plight of this exploited lot, this idea of Smart City shall remain eluded.
Needless to remind you your promise made to the workers on the May-Day that AAP Government shall ensure payment of minimum wages to them and those found not paying the same would be sent to jail. To my knowledge, till date, no employer has been sent to jail for failure to pay minimum wages to its workers. Why Delhi Govt is silent?
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
Advisor, Social Jurist