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Garment workers in Karnataka awaiting their dues

Oct 27, 2021
Garment workers in Karnataka awaiting their dues

Karnataka

About four lakh garment workers of Karnataka, most of them women, continue to wait for their Variable Dearness Allowance (VDA) fixed for the period of 2020-21.

The garment industry is among the 82 scheduled industries that come under the Minimum Wages Act to whom this VDA is applicable. K.R. Jayaram, advisor, Garment and Textile Workers Union (GATWU), said that, except in a couple of garment units, where workers are being paid VDA, most workers have been denied the allowance, while VDA has been given in other scheduled industries.

VDA forms an important component for the workers coming under the Minimum Wages Act. However, the State Government had ordered a freeze of VDA of Rs 417.60 per month or Rs 16.06 a day that was calculated for 2020-2021 based on inflation. The freeze order of July 20, 2020, meant the minimum wage worker would not get VDA between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. This order, however, was stayed by the Karnataka High Court in September 2020. The union has been demanding payment of VDA citing the stay.

However, the Clothing Manufacturing Association of India, the employers’ body, has justified the non-payment of VDA for the period using the turbulence caused by the pandemic and the fact that the matter is pending in court.

The association contended that though the court had stayed the order, there was no direction to the industry to make payment of VDA and that it would be bound by the final orders.

D.A. Vijaybhaskar, general secretary, AITUC, which is the petitioner in this case in the High Court, said that, there has been no stay on the earlier order of the High Court. He added that, productivity and quality issues plague the garment industry in low-wage countries and the argument for non-payment of VDA to fight competition is not fair.

Source: The Hindu

Image Source: Google Images

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