The workers of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), also known as Visakhapatnam Steel Plant decides to go on an indefinite strike to protest against the move of privatization. Workers may invite farmer leader Rakesh Tikait to understand their 100-day-long farm agitation so that the process helps them to finalize their path.
“We are studying their model of agitation and if possible, we shall adopt their strategy to wage a long-drawn battle to prevent privatisation of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. We have invited the farmers’ leaders to Visakhapatnam on March 28 for a meeting with steel plant workers on how to go about with future course of action,” the trade union leader said
The Main Reason For The Disinvestment, According To The RINL Management
About 17,000 permanent workers and 14,000 contract employees work for the RINL. According to RINL management, the key reason for the disinvestment was that the steel plant had been continuously losing money for a long time. It made a loss of Rs. 1,369 crore in 2017-18. While it managed a brief resurgence in 2018-19, with a net profit of 97 crores, it plummeted into massive losses in 2019-20, totalling 3,910 crores.
J Ayodhya Ramu, president of Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the recognised trade union of the RINL, said Although the cost of iron ore for private steel plants is about 1,500 per tonne, the RINL pays at least 5,000 per tonne for the ore “We need 10 million tonnes of ore every year; which means the RINL is spending 3,500 crores in excess only on ore, compared to the private plants,”
He said this financial year (2020-21) ending March 31, the losses of the steel plant are going to come down to 1,500 crores. “The fact that the company is wiping out the losses to the tune of 2,400 crore shows the company is functioning efficiently. Where is the need to privatise it?” he asked.
Information about the strike date
The meeting decided to hold a dharna in front of the steel plant on March 15 as quoted in Hindustan Times.
“On March 16 and 17, representatives of the trade unions will go to Delhi to represent our issue with floor leaders of all political parties and request them to take up our case in Parliament,” Ramu said.
“We shall serve the strike notice on the RINL management on Thursday. All the workers will go on an indefinite strike on a date which will be decided later. We have also decided to constitute struggle committees with employees working in various departments of the steel plant and launch a campaign till March 19, preparing the workers for a long-drawn agitation,” J Ayodhya Ramu, president of Centre for Indian Trade Unions ( CITU), the recognised trade union of the RINL, said.