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Controversy Erupts Over Minimum Wage Revision in Goa

AITUC Alleges Unscientific and Anti-Worker Approach by State Government



Date: 16th August 2023

Panaji: The recent notification by the Goa State Government regarding the revision of minimum wages has sparked a fierce debate, with the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) condemning the move as “unscientific” and “anti-working people.” AITUC expressed its strong disagreement with the government’s decision, citing various factors that they believe render the revised minimum wages inadequate and unjust.

After an eight-year delay, the State Government announced the revised minimum wages for different employment categories, including Unskilled, Semi-skilled, Skilled, and Highly Skilled workers. However, AITUC criticized the new rates, stating that they do not take into account the rising costs of essential commodities such as food, clothing, and shelter. Additionally, AITUC highlighted the increased costs of utilities, education, healthcare, and transportation, all of which have become burdensome for the average working-class family.

The trade union emphasized that Goa, despite being a renowned tourist destination, maintains one of the highest costs of living in the country, rivaling even metropolitan cities. AITUC argued that the revised minimum wages should have been set higher to reflect this reality and to ensure a decent standard of living for workers and their families.

According to AITUC, various trade unions in Goa had previously demanded significantly higher minimum wages, proposing rates that would better align with the cost of living in the state. The union asserted that the government’s decision to maintain lower rates is a disservice to the hardworking population of Goa.

The controversy also involves allegations that the minimum wage revision was influenced by pressure from employer associations and industrialists who may have vested interests in maintaining lower wage levels. AITUC accused the government of prioritizing the interests of employers over those of the working class.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) guidelines and the Supreme Court of India’s directives on minimum wage revisions were also brought into the discussion. AITUC argued that the recent revision disregards these established guidelines, which are designed to ensure that minimum wages are adequate to cover the basic needs of workers and their families.

In response to the government’s decision, AITUC announced its firm rejection of the revised minimum wages and declared its intent to organize protests. A mass rally and dharna (sit-in protest) are scheduled to take place in the city of Panaji on Tuesday, 29th August 2023, led by the Goa State Committee of AITUC.

The issue has ignited a passionate debate over fair wages and the economic well-being of workers in Goa, drawing attention to the complexities of balancing labor rights with economic considerations.

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