Arun Jaitley

Left unions have refused to cancel Friday strike, rejecting the government’s offer on minimum wage.
In an attempt to persuade trade unions to call of a huge strike called for Friday, the government has agreed to some of their demands, including raising the minimum wage for unskilled workers from Rs. 246 to Rs. 350 per day.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said central government employees will also receive the bonuses due to them for the last two years. However, he said there is no question of the government reviewing its new relaxed rules for foreign investment.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called an emergency meet of Mr Jaitley, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Power Minister Piyush Goyal to strategize about what could be offered to unions to persuade them to cancel Friday’s shutdown, which is meant to close banks, government offices and factories across the country.
Several state unions have said they back the strike, which means public transport could be affected.

The unions have since September last year been pushing for 12 major demands include raising the minimum wage. They are also opposed to the government allowing much more foreign investment in sectors like insurance and defense, where, they say, national security could be compromised.

The strike and accusations of not protecting workers’ interests come at a time when the government is delivering major reforms to re-energise the economy, and trying to fight the perception of it aligning with the interests of big business.

The PM last week told his party leaders that they must publicise and more effectively communicate pro-poor welfare schemes.

Also caught between a rock and a hard place is the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), a major union linked to the ruling BJP’s ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS. If it joins the strike, it will allow Left-affiliated unions and the opposition to claim the government’s policies are unacceptable even to agencies with close ties.

Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh has yet to decide its position for Friday. Last year, it did not participate in a similar shutdown, opting out after a government assurance to look at nine of the 12 demands presented by unions.

to call of a huge strike called for Friday, the government has agreed to some of their demands, including raising the minimum wage for unskilled workers from Rs. 246 to Rs. 350 per day.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said central government employees will also receive the bonuses due to them for the last two years. However, he said there is no question of the government reviewing its new relaxed rules for foreign investment.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called an emergency meet of Mr Jaitley, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Power Minister Piyush Goyal to strategize about what could be offered to unions to persuade them to cancel Friday’s shutdown, which is meant to close banks, government offices and factories across the country.
Several state unions have said they back the strike, which means public transport could be affected.

The unions have since September last year been pushing for 12 major demands include raising the minimum wage. They are also opposed to the government allowing much more foreign investment in sectors like insurance and defense, where, they say, national security could be compromised.

The strike and accusations of not protecting workers’ interests come at a time when the government is delivering major reforms to re-energise the economy, and trying to fight the perception of it aligning with the interests of big business.

The PM last week told his party leaders that they must publicise and more effectively communicate pro-poor welfare schemes.

Also caught between a rock and a hard place is the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), a major union linked to the ruling BJP’s ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS. If it joins the strike, it will allow Left-affiliated unions and the opposition to claim the government’s policies are unacceptable even to agencies with close ties.

Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh has yet to decide its position for Friday. Last year, it did not participate in a similar shutdown, opting out after a government assurance to look at nine of the 12 demands presented by unions.