Our Bureau

Visakhapatnam, June 7

THE contract workers in the Visakhapatnam steel plant continued their strike, for the sixth day on Tuesday, and reiterated their resolve to persist with it for a minimum wage of Rs 4,000 per month.

At a meeting in the union office on Tuesday, Mr D.K Das, General Secretary of the Steel Workers' Federation of India, said the strike by 8,000 contract workers would be successful and they should intensify the agitation.

Mr D. Adinarayana, AITUC leader, said the attitude of the INTUC was reprehensible and it would have no impact on the strike. He said the INTUC did not have any strength among the contract labour.

Mr J. Ayodhya Ramu, Honorary President of the Contract Labour Union, warned the steel plant management that it should refrain from intimidating contract labourers. He condemned the INTUC for opposing the strike.

Mr N. Rama Rao, General Secretary of the Steel Plant Employees' Union, affiliated to the CITU, said it was shameful on the part of the INTUC to oppose the strike and "betray the interests of the workers."

The steel plant management in a press release issued on Monday said the strike had no impact on production. The management said that it had always ensured that minimum wages were paid to the workers in accordance with the State GO.

Besides, the minimum wages in Andhra Pradesh were higher than in other States where major steel plants such as Bhilai, Bokaro and Rourkela were situated.

According to the State Government GO, the unskilled workers should be paid minimum wages of Rs 2,386 per month, the semi-skilled ones Rs 3,020 and the skilled ones Rs 3,654.

The effective wages for the three catergories paid by the VSP management were Rs. 3,334, Rs. 4,220 and Rs. 5,106 respectively. Therefore, there was no justification for the strike, it said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 8, 2005)
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