Wage revision finalised through majority opinion; not through consensus

Central Chronicle News
Bhilai, Oct 22: The much awaited wage revision of SAIL employees was finalised on Friday. Two of the member trade unions of NJCS did not sign the agreement while three other unions have signed the MoU for wage revision. In the first half of Thursday, Core Group Meeting was held. Workers’ group met separately and after long deliberation and debate, decided to present before the management the demand for 28% perks.
This was placed before the management and management did not agree to the same. In the NJCS meeting held in the second half, management initially made an offer of 22% perks. In the process of deliberation, due to our sticking to our demand of 28% perks, particularly by CITU, they came up to the offer of 25%.
This was also rejected by CITU and others. But finally in the process of negotiation, other unions except BMS came down to the level of 26.5%. Management immediately agreed to the same. CITU opposed and stuck to the demand for 28% firmly. Following this, management proposed for signature in MOU. INTUC, AITUC and HMS agreed to sign the MOU. CITU and BMS refused.
CITU opposed to sign the MOU stating that a dangerous trend is being indulged by management to push through issues on the basis of Majority opinion and not through consensus which had been always the culture in NJCS. Already the unions reduced their demand on perks by 7 percentage point from 35% to 28% only to facilitate quicker settlement but management got it reduced further to26.5% owing to vacillations of other unions, which is nothing but a gross compromise on workers’ interests perpetually even for a ten years’ agreement. MOU insisted for a provision of review of perks and allowance after three years on the basis of financial position / performance of the company.
This will risk even the continuance of the 26.5% perks even during the tenure of the Agreement itself. Further payment of perks will be linked with actual attendance. Decision for enhancement of the tenure of Agreement to10 years was taken by majority decision and CITU alone opposed such enhancement because such extension of periodicity would perpetually suppress the wage level of steel workers, particularly the interests of the younger workers got compromised severely.
Decision of 13% MGB was taken also on majority decision and only CITU has opposed the same. When the workers got 17% MGB in the last 5-year tenure wage agreement, agreeing to only 13% MGB for a ten-year agreement by all other unions is a gross unjust treatment to workers’ interests, particularly the young workers.
Demand for 9% pension contribution was ignored by management and conditionality of gratuity ceiling has been again insisted upon. Even management refused to grant 9% pension contribution for those young workers who are already governed by gratuity ceiling (joining after July 2014).
Arrears on pay will be paid only from 1-04-2020. Arrears from 1-1-2017 may be considered on the basis of future affordability and so called capacity to pay that too from 2022-23 onwards and that too by five annual instalments which will cross even the tenure of the present agreement.
This will not only deprive the workers of their legitimate arrears but also affect negatively their provident fund accumulation. 8. Management refused to include issue of contract workers’ pay revision although it was agreed to be considered through a committee to be constituted. The benefits of the wage agreement will be extended to RINL subject to its affordability and financial conditions.
All the above shortcomings were specifically pointed out by CITU representatives after examining the draft of MOU. This caused some hesitation among those unions ready for signing the MOU and they demanded changes in MOU in line with our pointers. For this reason only the MoU was not signed on Thursday. Finally, the three unions signed the same on Friday.

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