Monthly wages for all workers will be increased by Rs.1,500 from April 16

Hot-rolling steel plant workers at Wazirpur Industrial Estate and factory owners have called a truce. An estimated 500 workers who have been on strike since April 11 rejoined work on Wednesday.

The owners have agreed to provide ESI cards to all the workers which will help address their medical care issues and expenses. The monthly wages for all the workers will be increased by Rs.1,500 from April 16 onwards. Out of the six days that the strike lasted, the workers will be paid wages for four days by factory owners. None of the striking workers will be sacked by the factory owners.

A Labour Inspector visited the 24 hot-rolling factories on Wednesday and asked the workers, who submitted complaints to the Labour Department, to appear before him on April 29.

The workers had embarked on the strike from April 11 demanding payment of statutory minimum wages, eight-hour shifts, ESI and PF facilities, yearly-bonus, and extra payment for overtime work.

They had formed an organisation--Garam Rola Mazdoor Ekta Samiti--to protest the violation of labour laws in their plants. On Tuesday evening, some of the workers were detained by Ashok Vihar police and allowed to leave after a few hours.

The Samiti has formed an executive committee to raise the flouting of labour laws before various official fora like the Delhi Labour Department, Factory Inspectorate and Union Labour Ministry.

Raghuraj, the leader of the workers, while expressing disappointment that some of the demands for which the strike was undertaken could not be met, expressed optimism about the way ahead. He said the workers would put up a united front if attempts to coerce them by using the threat of police action are made.

“We are not stepping back from our core demands like minimum wages, social security benefits and better working conditions. We will highlight the violation of labour laws before government bodies. It is our expectation that factory owners will voluntarily provide us all the benefits that have so fare been denied to us,” he said.

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