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GANGTOK: Sikkim government‘s labour department has revised the minimum wages by Rs. 200 across all categories of daily wage earners, including unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled and highly skilled workers. The wages were last revised in 2017.

The minimum daily wage for unskilled workers has been revised from Rs. 300 to Rs. 500; the same has been revised for for semi-skilled workers from Rs. 320 to Rs. 520; for skilled workers the revision is from Rs. 335 to Rs. 535 and for highly skilled workers, the wages have been revised from Rs. 365 to Rs. 565.

The revision in wages have also been notified as per the altitude of working. While those working in altitudes upto 8000 feet will be paid normal wages, those working between 8001 feet to 12,000 feet shall be paid 50% more than the normal wage. Those working between 12,001 to 16,000 feet shall be paid 75% more than the normal wage, and those working in altitudes above 16,000 feet will be paid double the normal wages.

The Sikkim government issued a notification regarding the revision on Monday, also inviting suggestions, objections, views and comments from persons likely to be affected thereby, in writing to the Labour department with a deadline of 60 days (from the day of Gazette publication).

The four categories of workers have been identified as per the Minimum Wage Act of 1948 and the revision has been carried as per the Act.

The notification further mentions, “The revised rates are inclusive of Dearness Allowance, but exclusive of other concessions, if any, enjoyed by the employees. If a worker works 6 days a week consecutively without being absent, they must be ensured one day leave either on a Sunday or any other Haat Day. No worker shall be allowed to work more than 9 hours a day with one hour break. If the work exceeds 8 hours a day or 48 hours a week with respect to overtime work, the worker is entitled to wages at the rate of twice ordinary rate of wages.”

Labour Secretary Namrata Thapa, shared, “This has been approved by the government, as per the Act, in 60 days anyone has suggestions and comments they can give in writing to the Labour Department. Then we will put up all the suggestions to the government and anything that needs to be changed, we are doing it very transparently. Affected parties are here the companies, sometimes we don’t receive if they are satisfied. But it doesn’t mean that the daily wage amount will be reduced, it has been fixed now. Some category of workers could be left out so that will be considered in those 60 days.”

The Secretary mentioned that it is being done as per the growing demands noticing the inflation, also highlighting, “Essential commodities have grown expensive. We government servants get increment and Dearness Allowances, considering all that, the Act says it needs to revised every five years. The last it happened was in 2017. We have not made any changes in the categorisation of daily wage earners. The Department has that prerogative to decide who falls in what category of labour.”

Sikkim Progressive Youth Forum who had been placing the demand on behalf of daily wage earners had demanded for the minimum wage to reach as high as Rs. 700 per day. Speaking on the new revised rate of daily wage earners, SPYF member Rupen Karki shared, “Our demand was for Rs. 21,000 per month, we had explained why as well. But anyway, Rs. 15,000 is better than Rs. 9000. Workers and SPYF have been working continuously to make a better situation for the workers. We may have to work towards ensuring Rs. 21,000 per month wage for workers.”

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