Labour-crunch in Punjab has now built a pressure on the state government to revise minimum wages which has not been raised since 2001. According to the state government officials there is a move to bring Punjab at par with its neighbouring state Haryana which is quite ahead of the state. Sources also revealed that the file to increase the wage is being reviewed by the chief minister of the state, Parkash Singh Badal and new wage rate will be introduced shortly.
According to labour statistics of Punjab as on April, 2008 minimum wages of unskilled industrial workers is fixed at Rs 2,620 per month or Rs 100.51 per day. The minimum wages of an unskilled agriculture labour at Rs 94.61 (with meals) 104.31 (without meals) per day. There are 17,139 factories are registered where 5, 70,114 workers are employed. While in Haryana, an unskilled industrial worker gets Rs 3,586 per day and an agriculture worker gets Rs 138 per day. There are 6, 85,000 industrial workers registered with the labour department of Haryana. Official sources also revealed that revision of minimum wages failed to take place in Punjab due to employers and politicians lobby.
Labour commissioner, Punjab, Raminder Singh said,”The Central government’s NREGP which has picked up the momentum in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, has badly affected the inflow of migrant labourers in Punjab. Industries and farmers are facing acute shortage of labourers. This is also one of the reasons for the state government to revise the minimum wages in the state.”