The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a PIL filed by social activist Swami Agnivesh seeking minimum wages for around 50 crore workers in the unorganised sector. The PIL had said that millions of workers including building and construction workers, sewer workers, brick kiln and stone quarry workers, etc. are performing duties for which they deserve remuneration higher than class IV employees of government. However, the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and S K Kaul said “We are not inclined to hear this (petition). You can go to the authorities with your grievances.” The bench asked the activist to approach the authorities concerned for the relief.
The PIL said 50 crore workers are employed in the unorganised sector and their rights under Article 14 (Equality before law), 21 (Protection of life and personal liberty) and 39 (principles of policy to be followed by the State) have been violated.
“The unorganized sector employees are performing/discharging duties which are far more arduous, drudgerous and hazardous as in the case of manual sewage cleaning employees and of much higher value than as is being normally performed by the class IV Government employees and, therefore, they deserve remuneration higher than the class IV employees of government.
“It is only due to lack of an organized and collective voice/bargaining power that these citizens have been denied their just and fair recognition/rewards in the form of wages/salaries,” the plea had said.
However, the SC refused to entertain the PIL and asked the activist to approach the concerned authorities.