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The Delhi High Court today sought the response of the AAP government on a plea seeking enforcement of minimum wage rates for over 60 lakh workers employed in the organised and unorganised sectors here.
A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal asked the Delhi government to file its response within a week and listed the matter for hearing on August 8.
The High Court was hearing a plea moved by advocate Ashok Agarwal seeking a direction to Delhi government to increase the minimum wage rates up to Rs 15,000.
The plea has also sought a direction to increase the strength of the trained Labour Inspectors and other staff of the Labour Department and filling up of the vacancies.
In a related development, members of major trade unions like the All India Trade Union Congress, Indian National Trade Union Congress, Centre of Indian Trade Unions and All India United Trade Union Centre staged a silent protest outside the high court premises today against the non-implementation of minimum wages notified by the Delhi government in March.
According to the petition before the court, there were about 20 lakh factories and shops in Delhi which employed about 60 lakh workmen.
However, the male workers on an average received Rs 6,000 per month as wages and female workers about Rs 5,000 a month, it claimed, adding that the average wages of the workers received from their employers was almost half the level of the prevailing minimum wage rates.
The lawyer claimed that the Delhi government has revised and fixed the minimum wages at an "unreasonably lower rate", which "violated the fundamental right of the workers".
The plea alleged that the strength of the staff of the Labour Department has been drastically reduced to 125 with just 14 Labour Inspectors as against a staff of 519 employees in 1980, while the number of factories and establishments have increased manifolds.
"It would be pertinent to highlight that while the violation of labour laws and minimum wages is rampant, especially in the unorganised sector, there has been no prosecution done by the government for the last three years," it said.