Members of Central trade unions have decided to renew their agitation over failure of the National Joint Committee on Steel (NJCS) in finalising the ninth wage agreement for public sector steel workers.
Ahead of the core committee meeting of the NJCS on August 24 in New Delhi, the CITU has planned to stage demonstrations near the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) and in front of offices of SAIL’s iron mines across Sundargarh on August 22.
NJCS comprises representatives of SAIL and four Central trade unions- CITU, AITUC, INTUC and HMS. Though the fresh wage agreement was supposed to be decided 20 months back, it has not been done till date. The trade unions hold SAIL, which plays a major role in putting across the demands of steel workers to NJCS, responsible for letting down the workers.
Rourkela-based national vice-president of CITU Bishnu Mohanty criticised SAIL management for inordinate delay and said CITU would mobilise other trade unions to put up a united fight if the core committee meeting of NJCS fails to take favourable decision this time.
Their demands include minimum guaranteed benefits of 20 per cent of basic salary, fringe benefits of 46 per cent, introduction of equal pension scheme for workers and officers, continuation of existing benefits and wage agreement for contract workers.
The BMS-affiliated Rourkela Ispat Karmachari Sangh (RIKS) of RSP, which recently protested the delay in deciding the agreement, accused the management of deliberately delaying the issue under a pre-planned conspiracy.
Sundargarh unit secretary of BMS Babaji Sahoo said while the steel workers are denied of legitimate dues, officers are entitled to huge financial benefits under Performance-Related-Pay scheme.
Former national AITUC president and NJCS core committee member Gaya Singh, who visited Rourkela on Monday, said due to adamant attitude of SAIL management, no consensus could be reached on the wage agreement. He called for a mass agitation if the upcoming NJCS core committee meeting fails to take a decision on finalising the wage issue.