As many as 36,000 employees including 16,000 permanent employees of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) today went on strike opposing the UPA government's disinvestment proposals of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), the corporate entity of VSP.
According to AITUC leader D Adinarayana, all the employees' associations including CITU and INTUC are opposing the government's move to disinvest 10 per cent stake in the RINL.
"Today it may be just 10 per cent disinvestment. Later the government may go for higher stake dilution and slowly may sell majority share. Employees' interests will be affected if the disinvestment is allowed to continue," Adinarayana told PTI.
Department of Disinvestment recently decided to put on hold the Rs 2,500-crore Initial Public Offer (IPO) based on the bankers' advice with respect to gloomy market conditions.
The IPO was supposed hit the market by July-end. The first phase of roadshows for the IPO was conducted last month in London, Hong Kong and Singapore.
The central government wanted to offload 10 percent of its equity in RINL to achieve its total target of Rs 30,000 crore during current fiscal from disinvestment in profit-making public sector units.
The union leader said they are sending letters to Prime Minister and other ministers to reconsider their decision on disinvestment plans.
When contacted, a senior official of the VSP said the management has taken care to see that all critical functions will go on smoothly. "There will be some impact on the production. We have made some stop gap arrangements.
Production loss can be quantified at later stage," the official said.
VSP chairman and managing director A P Chowdhary earlier appealed to the unions to desist from the strike as it would have a cumulative effect on production. However, the employees' associations rejected the appeal.