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A Struggle for Meal Benefits

Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Volume 48 Issue 3

Published: 2013
Author(s) Name: Bro. R. Karthik Shekhar | Author(s) Affiliation: Bro. R Karthik Shekhar is General Secretary, UNITES Professionals, India.
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Abstract

Over the past ten years, while food prices have more than doubled, meal benefits available to workers have remained stagnant. In the context of increasing inflation, meal benefits as a proportion of the wage bill have therefore dramatically fallen. Instead of viewing meal benefits as an inherent right of workers, the state has viewed them as peripheral and fringe benefits, and therefore has placed tax restrictions on them. It is argued here that struggling for improving the meal benefits to Rs. 125 per meal is necessary to ensure that organisations provide adequate meal benefits to their employees. Further, trade union action around issues such as meal benefits have the potential to democratise employment relations and society, as they can expand the scope of meal benefits to include contract and informal sector workers who are implicitly tied to organisations through their work.

Keywords: N.A.

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