Gujarat: As nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 24, Gujarat government appealed and directed industries not to cut salaries or retrench employees during lockdown. The government later in the first week of April said FIRs will be filed against industries not abiding by the government notification under the Disaster Management Act.

About 16 industry unions in Gujarat have written to the state government requesting them to allow pay cuts of their workers’ wages by 30-50%. These industries have also asked the government not to allow migrant workers whose salaries have already been paid during the COVID-19 lockdown to return home.

According to The Indian Express report, the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industries (GCCI) Zonal Council on Monday wrote a letter to chief minister Vijay Rupani requesting the government to allow industries to cut their workers’ wages, including employment. The letter was written on behalf of all 16 industrial associations.

Claiming that the industries are in a fiscal crisis due to the lockdown, GCCI president Durgesh Buch, in the letter, suggested that the daily wagers be given salaries at par with MNREGA workers or with minimum wages which is around Rs 200-350 per day. Those earning up to Rs 20,000 should be given only 70% of their existing salaries and those earning more than Rs 20,000 should be given only 50 per cent of the salaries, the letter said.

“On the one hand, production is almost at a standstill, the units have to bear certain expenses like bank EMI, rent and salary,” the letter said.

“We have requested the government to withdraw the notification that makes full payment of salaries mandatory. Secondary, the workers who do not turn up at units that have restarted in orange and green zones should not be paid at all. Thirdly, the migrant workers whose salaries have been paid during the lockdown should not be allowed to return, otherwise we will not be able to run,” said Pathik Patwari, an office bearer at GCCI. Over 75000 industrial units have become functional in the state after the two waves of relaxations given to the industry on April 20 and May 3.

The industrial associations which have come together raising these demands are from Vadodara, Junagadh, Banaskantha, Rajkot, Mehsana, Ahmedabad and Ankleswar.