Shadow of affordability clause extended over wage revision of non-executives

SAIL Board declares “wage revision not possible” * Rs 308.24 crore provision for wage revision written back *Pension provision for 2015-16 retained at 2% of (Basic + DA)

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Bhilai, June 02: There is shocking news for the SAIL employees those who were expecting amicable salary hike from the wage revision pending since January 01, 2017. The management has unexpectedly extended the shadow of “affordability clause” over the wage revision of non-executives also. In this situation, revision of wages will not be possible for non-executive employees.
SAIL’s Director (Finance) has issued a letter (on behalf of Board of Directors) in this regard and has withdrawn the provision of Rs 308.24 crore which was kept reserve for the wage revision. Further, the pension provision has been retained at Two percent (of DA + Basic). This letter remained the hot topic of discussion on the social media platforms for the entire day. Some employees blamed the NJCS unions for this situation while others condemned the union government and prime minister for snatching away the right of salary growth.
It needs to be mentioned here that a couple of days ago SAIL has announced its financial results for the fourth quarter of the Financial Year2017-18 (Q4 FY18) and for FY18 and had declared a Net Profit of Rs 816 Crore. The Net Profit came after making a provision of Rs 582 Crore towards enhanced gratuity recently approved by Government of India. All the five integrated steel plants of the Company recorded individual profits in Q4 FY18. Company’s Net Turnover in Q4FY18 of Rs 16,811 Crore saw an increase of 34% over CPLY. The Q4 FY18 EBITDA at Rs 2624 Crore, a humongous growth over Q4 FY17, was highest in the last twenty-seven quarters. In view of such enthusiastic performance, the employees were expecting that the wage revision proceedings would be initialed soon and some proper settlement would be reached. But the management has taken a unilateral decision eliminating the possibilities of wage revision in near future.
The letter issued by SAIL Director (Finance) states that wage revision is not possible to Non-executive employees in view the affordability and financial sustainability clause mentioned in Office Memorandum dated 24th November, 2017 issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, Department of Public Enterprises in respect of Wage policy for workmen in Central Public Sector Enterprises. Accordingly, the excess provision of Rs 308.24 crore has been written back and Rs 76.92 crores is not required to be provided for the period from 1-1-2018 to 31-3-2018 (fourth quarter). Also based on affordability, sustainability and capacity to pay by the Company, pension provision for Non-executive employees has been retained at 2% of (Basic + DA) for the period from April 01, 2015 to December 31, 2016 as against 6% provided earlier and accordingly, Rs 288.14 crore has been written back. This order is also a shocker for the NJCS member trade unions that were busy in drafting their Charter of Demands for wage revision after the announcement of company’s profit.
Ispat Shramik Manch President Bhav Siongh Sonwani stated that the employees are again going to face financial loss due to the negligent attitude of the NJCS member unions. The SAIL management has taken unilateral decision of imposing the affordability clause in the case of non-executives and have zeroed down the excess provision of crores which was kept resrved for wage revision. Sonwani further stated that the company had made provision of Rs 403 crore in the last FY’ but the NJCS members failed in taking advantage as they had not submitted the charter of demands. At last, the company withdrew this reserve and it was added to the company’s profit.
Chhattisgarh Mazdoor Sangh General Secretary Akhil Mishra stated that the SAIL management has written back the provision of Rs 288 crore against the proposed 6% contribution for pension scheme. As per the order of Director (Finance) issued on May 30, the company has retained its pension provision for non-executives at 2% (Basic + DA) for the period of 2014-16. Mishra added that the NJCS members were warned about the situation but they failed in taking any concrete steps for protecting the benefits of the employees.
The executives of various units of SAIL are struggling since long for getting the affordability clause removed for their wage revision. During the joint meeting of SEFI and various trade unions held at Kolkata in June 2017, SEFI General Secretary Narendra Kumar Banchor had cautioned the trade unions about the provision of affordability clause and its impact on the wage revision of non-executives. But the NJCS member trade unions did not take it seriously.
Taking serious cognizance over the matter, Ispat Shramik Manch and Chhattisgarh Mazdoor Sangh have jointly decided to launch stir against such unilateral order of SAIL management. In the initiation stages, they would conduct awareness campaign among the employees to gather their support for bigger agitation. Bhav Singh Sonwani, Rajesh Agrawal, Sarwajeet Singh, Sita Ram Sahu, IS Thakur, RD Deshlehra and others of ISM as well as Akhil Mishra, Rejji Nair, Arvind Pandey, V Sandeep Naidu, Vimal Kant Pandey, Arvind Pandey, Roop Singh Thakur and others of Chhattisgarh Mazdoor Sangh were present during the meeting.

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