The State government has formed a committee to give its views in six months on fixing minimum wages for workers in the “other than apprentice category” in textile mills.
According to an order dated November 24, 2022, the Department of Labour Welfare and Skill Development said the government decided in 2007 to include “other than apprentice workers” of textile mills under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. The Labour Secretary sent proposals to the government in 2021 and 2022 for constitution of a committee for fixation of minimum wages for these workers. The government has accepted the proposal of the Secretary and has constituted the committee. The “other than apprentice workers” employed in spinning mills, weaving mills, open end mills, and composite mills will be covered. The committee, headed by the Additional Labour Commissioner, Coimbatore, will have five officials, six representatives of employers, and six representatives of trade unions.
According to the Coimbatore District Textile Workers Union (HMS), trade unions and textile mill managements in the State signed industry-wide wage agreements from 1956 to 1997. After that textile mills decide individually on the wages. In the last few years, the mills, numbering nearly 2,500, employed apprentice workers under different categories such as daily wage workers, camp coolies, Thirumagal Thirumana Thittam, and Sumangali Thittam. These workers received minimum wages of ₹493 a day. In the recent years, the number of permanent and apprentice workers have reduced at textile mills and workers are employed under various other categories. It has become difficult to get proper wage agreements for these workers. Hence, it is necessary to fix minimum wages for workers who come under “other than apprentice” category.
A meeting of the committee that was scheduled to be held here on Tuesday was postponed.