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(RPTG ADDING WORDS ‘A YEAR’ IN PARA 3)

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Govt hikes minimum wage; Unions stick to Sept 2 strike call New Delhi, Aug 30 (PTI) Seeking to dissuade labour unionsfrom a nationwide strike on September 2, the government todayannounced 42 per cent minimum wage hike and a two-year bonus,but the trade bodies rejected these measures as "completelyinadequate" and stuck to their call. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who heads an informalgroup of ministers constituted to address labour issues, saidthe minimum wages for unskilled non-agricultural workers willbe hiked to Rs 350 per day from the current Rs 246. Also, the government employees will be paid a wage bonusas per revised norms, for 2014-15 and 2015-16, a move thatwill entail a payout of Rs 1,920 crore a year. Other ‘labour-friendly’ moves included amendment in thePayment of Bonus Act and government support the cause ofunions in high courts and the Supreme Court. The government also said that it will issue advisories tostates for ensuring completion of trade union registrationwithin 45 days. The trade unions, who are demanding minimum monthly wageof Rs 18,000 per month or Rs 692 a day and base pension of Rs3,000 a month, were not impressed by the government’s move andsaid they would go ahead with the day-long general strikeon Friday. The strike call is being supported by almost all majorlabour unions except RSS-affiliated BMS, and may impactbanking and insurance services, power supplies and coalmining. "The government’s minimum wage announcement is completelyinadequate. The strike stands and we demand they should enacta law to fix minimum (universal) wage," All India Trade UnionCongress General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta said. "Finance Minister’s statement clearly shows that thegovernment has not considered any of the demands in our 12-point charter. The unions have no other alternative but tofight for their rights," Indian National Trade Union CongressVice-President Ashok Singh said. MORE PTI RNK DP NKD KKS CSANZBJBJ

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