Even as the government on Tuesday raised the minimum wage of semi-skilled non-agricultural workers, the trade unions refused to call off their strike planned on Friday. Agreeing to some of their demands and accepting the advisory board recommendations, the government on Tuesday raised the minimum wage from Rs 246 to Rs 350 a day for non-agricultural workers, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday.
However, expressing dissatisfaction, the union leaders said that the states like Delhi and Karnataka already offer more than this amount.
"The announcement on daily wages means only status quo," said Tapan Sen of CITU or the Centre of Indian Trade Unions. "No major demand has been accepted, there is no question of calling off the strike," he said. Jaitley also said that the government will give bonus at revised rates to central government employees for two years.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called an emergency meet which was attended by Jaitley, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Power Minister Piyush Goyal. The meeting was held to make a strategy on what could be offered to unions to persuade them to cancel Friday's strike.
If the strike takes place, the banks, government offices and factories across the country will remain closed. Since September 2015, the unions have been raising 12 major demands that includes raising the minimum wage.