No consensus over Perks; workmen in agitation mode

Central Chronicle News
Bhilai, Jun 24: The 290th meeting of National Joint Committee for Steel (NJCS) failed in reaching consensus over the issue of perks fixation. The workmen have turned to agitation mode in view of the adamant attitude of SAIL management which was clearly visible on the third day of the meeting as well.
Here in Bhilai, the workmen of Bhilai Steel Plant gathered at the Equipment Square and staged demonstration. They burnt the effigy of 13% MGB and clearly gave the message to the SAIL Management and the Trade Unions that the employees have rejected the offer of 13% Minimum Guaranteed Benefits.
It needs to be mentioned here that the virtual meeting of NJCS had finalised 13% MGB on Wednesday with majority vote. Subsequently, the discussion on Perks was conducted on Thursday. The virtual meeting began at 15:00 hrs in which the SAIL Management gave a presentation on its offer for Perks.
They stated that the employees are getting 6% perks and allowances as per the last wage revision. SAIL Management questioned the trade unions whether they want consolidated perks or want to increase the Perks + Allowances.
All the trade unions unanimously stated that they demand 35% variable perks on the revised Basic Pay. They added that all the allowances can be erased but the management has to provide some special allowances like Night Shift Allowance, Difficult Area Special Allowance,
Washing Allowance, etc and it should not be kept under Perks. The unions further stated that the discussion on increasing these allowances should be conducted separately. The management agreed upon this condition and tabled two offers before the trade unions.
In the first option, SAIL Mgmt offered 12% Perks on the Revised Basic Pay and in the second option, it offered 20% Perks on the pre-revised Basic Pay. All the union leaders were shocked with the offers made by the management and right away rejected both the offers.
The leaders stated that they had lowered the demand of MGB from 15% to 13% during the meeting on Wednesday but in the case of Perks, they cannot reduce the demand of 35% of the Revised Basic Pay.
The leaders of BMS and HMS raised strong objection on the management’s offers. They said that if the management did not agree on 35% Perks, the unions will also revoke their approval for 13% MGB.
In the meanwhile, they entered into argument while comparing the wages and allowances of the executives and non-executives. CITU leader Tapan Sen also took a clear stand on 35% variable perks and asserted that they will not accept anything below it.
Finally the meeting ended without reaching any consensus. The meeting will resume on June 25 at 15:00 hrs. Dr G Sanjeeva Reddy, SK Baghel, Vansh Bahadur Singh, BN Choubey, Harjit Singh, DS Panikkar and Chandrasekhar Paude from INTUC; Tapan Sen, Lalit Mohan Mishra from CITU, Ramendra Kumar and Vinod Soni from AITUC; Sanjay Wadhavkar, Rajendra Singh from HMS and DK Pandey, Himanshu Bal from BMS were present.
On the other hand, the workmen were keeping minute to minute watch on the proceedings of NJCS. The management’s offer on Variable Perks turned on the Agitation Mode after which the workmen started gathering near Equipment Square near Main Gate of Bhilai Steel Plant. Hundreds of young workmen gathered here and poured their anger on the effigy.
They are highly concerned over this wage revision which is already delayed by four-and-a-half years. Further, if the MGB and Perks are finalised at lower figures, they will have to suffer losses for long period as the periodicity of wage revision is likely to be increased to 10 years. There were reports of rising resentment among workmen at various departments of Bhilai Steel Plant.

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