The Karnataka government recently came up with a proposal to set up a committee to look into the long-pending demands of the garment workers, inclusive of minimum wage notification. The directive for the proposal came from the state chief minister HD Kumaraswamy. The said committee will include Labour Department officials, textile manufacturers, Central trade unions, and garment workers. The committee will undertake a study of the problems faced by garment workers and other stakeholders in the garment industry.
The chief minister who chaired the meeting to set up the committee said that its findings and reports should be time-bound and should enable the government to decide on the notification of minimum wages of garment workers. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Garment and Textile Workers’ Union, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and textile manufacturers.
It may be recalled that before the tenure of the outgoing Siddaramaiah government ended, in February 2018 a draft notification was issued mandating the doubling of the emoluments to the garment workers in the state. However, this draft notification was withdrawn hastily in March, following protests from garment manufacturers who cited that the state gave highest wages to garment workers and doubling their wages would render the textile industry uncompetitive. Currently the garment workers are demanding the re-implementation of the earlier draft notification in favor of doubling their wages.
The chief minister was non-committal in his response to the demand, stating, “It’s not possible to restore the withdrawn notification. However, on the basis of the new committee’s report minimum wages notification will be issued by the end of the year.