Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU)  and Steel Workers’ Federation of India (SWFI) congratulate and salute the steel workers of Public Sector Steel Industry for the massive and magnificent united strike action against the arrogance and humiliating stance of the management and the concerned Ministry towards legitimate rights and demands of the workers.

The workers of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant have staged massive strike on 29th June and the workers of plants, mines and establishment of Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) staged almost complete strike on 30th June, as decided by all the unions of the public sector steel industry under SAIL and RINL. Visakhapatnam to press for their firm demands for a respectable wage revision for both permanent and contract workers without any conditionalities. Among more than 1.5 lakh workers including the contract workers and project workers spread over in all the steel plants, mines and establishments under SAIL and RINL the response to strike action was massive ranging from 70 per cent to 95% in various steel plants, mines and establishments.  

Owing to arrogance and brazenly anti-worker approach of the Govt and the management, wage revision was delayed for more than four and half years. And when bipartite talks at the level of National Joint Committee for Steel (NJCS) commenced after 52 months, management started with all negative conditionalities of cut on wages and benefits instead of wage increase. Despite that all the unions exercised tremendous patience and participated in the negotiations with the management. But owing to continuity of same negative arrogance of the management for more than six months (in various meetings of NJCS), ultimately all the unions in public sector steel industry collectively decided to go in for strike action on 30th June (29th June in Vizag).

It is the same steel workers, both regular and contract workers have still kept the steel plants/mines running, risking their lives in the midst of pandemic/lockdown. More than 600 workers and officers, all on duty, have lost their lives due to Covid and the number crossed 1000, if the family members are taken in to account. Despite that, management did not show the courtesy even to respond, either way, to the repeated demands of the unions for compensation and compassionate employment. Such is the arrogance of the management.

The historical and heroic strike by the steel workers, despite various provocations by the management, demonstrated that workers cannot be taken for granted. This has become the united strike action by the entire steel workers fraternity to challenge the authoritarian and unilateral stance of the management and the Govt.

CITU appeals to all the unions and workers to strengthen this unity further to fight for a respectable wage settlement for both regular and contract workers without any negative preconditions and also against the onslaught of privatization, RMD dismantling and attack on workers’ rights emanating from the destructive policies of Govt. We will fight unitedly and we will win.

Tapan Sen
President SWFI
General Secretary CITU

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