ROURKELA: Pressure is mounting on SAIL management for early release of annual bonus to employees of the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) with various trade unions serving strike notices and resorting to demonstration. BMS-affiliated Rourkela Ispat Karkhana Karmachari Sangh (RIKKS), the recognised trade union of RSP, had recently served notice to go on strike from September 28 to 30 if bonus is not paid before Durga Puja. Members of RIKKS, led by its general secretary H S Bal, on Saturday demonstrated at Bisra Square and accused the SAIL management of being callous to the legitimate demand of the public sector steel workers. Bal said they want festive bonus of more than Rs 10,000 before Durga Puja failing which, BMS would go on strike at all SAIL plants and mines across the country.
Similarly on Friday, the AITUC-affiliated Rourkela Steel Mazdoor Union (RSMU) and six smaller unions, Steel Employees Association (Rourkela), Ispat Labour Union, Rourkela Shramik Panchayat, Kalinga Ispat Shramik Sangh and Hindustan Steel Workers’ Association also served strike notices for September 28 to 30. RSMU president Pravat Mishra said before strike the six trade unions, led by RSMU, would hold protest demonstration on September 21.
CITU-affiliated Steel Employees’ Trade Union (SETU) general secretary Basant Nayak said demonstration across all SAIL plants, including RSP, would be held on September 20 and in the worst scenario, CITU would go for strike. However, the INTUC-affiliated Rourkela Shramik Sangh (RSS) general secretary Prashant Behera said they are not in favour of strike as it would further aggravate the situation of RSP and hit the larger interest of the RSP employees. He said they are hopeful that the SAIL’s Board of Directors would take a favourable decision on bonus at its upcoming meeting on September 22. Trade union sources said after the second breakdown on Sunday in four months, the Blast Furnace-V of RSP was down for at least six days leading to hot metal production loss of nearly Rs100 crore.