ROURKELA: Trade unions (TUs) of Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) continue to build pressure on SAIL for festive bonus for around 12,500 workers.
SAIL is likely to finalise it at the core committee meeting of National Joint Committee on Steel (NJCS) on October 4. Ahead of the festive season, all major unions have resorted to agitation over the issue.
While CITU-affiliated Steel Employees’ Trade Union (SETU) held demonstration on September 21 over the issue, BMS-affiliated Rourkela Ispat Karkhana Karmachari Sangh (RIKKS), the recognised trade union of RSP, HMS-affiliated Rourkela Mazdoor Sabha (RMS), INTUC-affiliated Rourkela Shramik Sangh (RSS) and Gangpur Mazdoor Manch (GMM) of Birmitrapur MLA George Tirkey had also staged dharna recently.
Incidentally, the RIKKS had demanded removal of Steel Minister Chaudhury Birendra Singh over the pending wage revision issue of public sector steel workers.
RIKKS general secretary Himanshu Sekhar Bal said during the protest, they insisted on early wage revision of steel workers and higher festive bonus this time. He claimed that SAIL has reported Profit Before Tax (PBT) of about `540 crore in Quarter-I of 2018-19. “We are hopeful that the upcoming core committee meeting of NJCS would announce higher festive bonus to workers. Last year, it was `11,000,” he added.
SETU general secretary Basanta Nayak also expected higher festive bonus this time as the production has significantly improved and the number of workers has reduced. In fact, stung by the bitter experience of 2017, SAIL has announced that it will discuss the issue on October 4.
In 2017, BMS had sent strike notices to close all SAIL plants, including RSP and mines, from September 28 to 30 demanding festive bonus before Durga Puja. Later, workers of five plants and mines workers of SAIL were entitled to pay of Rs 11,000.
The SAIL had paid the highest festive bonus of Rs 18,040 to each worker in 2014. Subsequently, SAIL backtracked citing losses. But after pressure, it paid Rs 9,000 and Rs 10,000 as festive bonus in 2015 and 2016, respectively.