The earlier agreement expired in March this year
Talks for a new wage settlement for workmen in the cement industry will begin here on Friday.
The previous four-year settlement, signed in 2014, expired in March this year.
N. Srinivasan, vice-chairman and managing director of The India Cements Ltd., will lead the industry body in the negotiations with the major unions such as INTUC, AITUC, CITU, HMS, BMS and LPF of DMK.
Mr. Srinivasan was confident of a clinching smooth and fair settlement with the unions.
Mr. Srinivasan, who was the president of Cement Manufacturers Association for five terms (1991 to 1994 and 2004 to 2006), has been played a key role in the last 25 years in amicably concluding six national wage settlements through collective bargaining involving all major trade unions. Friday’s negotiations for the seventh wage settlement come at a time when the industry is just about beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“The industry is facing many challenges. Not all regions are prosperous. Limestone deposits are available only in 7 States. It faced nil or weak demand in the last 6 to 7 years. It is also facing cost pressures with increase in the price of all materials and inputs,” he said in a media briefing.
The last wage settlement in 2014 fetched an increase of ₹ 6,000 in wages for an unskilled worker. Along with variable DA, bonus and other allowances, the total increase came to ₹ 9,500 to ₹ 10,000 per month to a workman. “In 1989, an unskilled worker was getting ₹ 2,700 a month at the entry-level. I has now increased to ₹ 32,000 to ₹ 34,000,” he said.
“The national-level settlement in the industry is unique as it is concluded through a collective bargaining across the table with all the major trade unions. It has an assured industrial peace without any unrest and maintained cordial labour-management relations in the major core sector industry in the last 26 years,” Mr. Srinivasan said.
The new wage settlement is expected to cover 20 to 25 member-companies having 100 units and employing over 100,000 workers. The national wage settlement is usually the bench-mark and adopted by non-members as well. The successive settlements must be read in the context of the manifold increase in cement capacity from 30 million tonnes in 1992 to 400 million tonnes now.
“Throughout this journey, I have walked through. The industry trusts me in leading the talks with the unions because of the fairness in the negotiation and the tradition of reaching an industry-wide national-level settlement in the last two decades,” Mr. Srinivasan said.[“Source-thehindu”]