Two-day long NJCS meeting ended inconclusive

The two-day long meeting of the National Joint Committee for Steel (NJCS) to settle revised wages of Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) non-executives ended yesterday (December 19) without any conclusive result. There was much expectation among the workers of Durgapur Steel Plant (DSP) and Alloy Steel Plant (ASP) in Durgapur about a settlement on the issue of wage revision yesterday.

There has been much discontentment among the workers in Durgapur as the issue of wage revision of SAIL and RINL employees is pending for nearly 24 months. However there are enough indications at the two-day long NJCS meeting which suggest that the managements and the unions will strike a deal next month in presence of SAIL Chairman.

In the two-day long NJCS meeting SAIL management remained rigid at their offer of 16% Minimum Guaranteed Benefit (MGB), while all unions remained firm at 18% after scaling down from their initial demand of 21.6%.

On the issue of fringe benefit the management’s offer of existing perks plus 5% of revised Basic Pay was outrightly rejected by all the union representatives. The unions were earlier demanding a percentage based fringe benefits (calculated on basic) in line with the SAIL executives. But in a changed scenario, all the unions strongly voiced for fringe benefit at the rate of 8% of revised basic plus the existing perks.

On the issue of Pension Fund, company’s contribution will likely to be 6%. While Contract labourer’s wage will be hiked in the range of Rs. 700/- to Rs. 1200/- unit-wise.

However unconfirmed sources reported that the management offered minimum guaranteed benefit of 17 per cent and increase in perquisites at 6 per cent of revised basic if the unions gave their consent for the wage revision immediately.

As that there is not much difference between the management’s proposal and union’s demand a wage revision agreement that will benefit 85,000 non-executives may be struck as early as next month. Workers at all the SAIL unit including the units of DSP and ASP in Durgapur is becoming impatient as a delay in NJCS settlement will mean loss for workers because SAIL gives benefits prospectively, not retrospectively.

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