Management instructs the executives drafted for general shift to report for ‘A’ shift

All the trade unions of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant will go on a day’s strike on Tuesday to press for their demand to drop 10 per cent disinvestment in Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL).

Additional forces were posted late in the evening to ward off any untoward incident at Ukkunagaram. The management instructed the executives drafted for general shift (9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.) to report for ‘A’ shift (6 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

The UPA-II Government decided to put on hold Rs.2,500-crore Initial Public Offer (IPO) sometime ago. RINL is the corporate entity of VSP. The IPO was supposed hit the market by July-end. The first phase of roadshows for the IPO was conducted last month in London, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The Central Government, to start with, wanted to offload 10 per cent of its equity in RINL to achieve its total target of Rs.30,000 crore during current fiscal from disinvestment in profit-making public sector units.

AITUC leader D. Adinarayana, CITU leader V. Dhanaraju and Visakha Steel Employees’ Congress deputy general secretary N. Ramachandra Rao said 10 per cent disinvestment would subsequently lead to privatisation of VSP, which was set up after 32 persons laid down their lives during ‘Visakha Ukku Andhrula Hakku’ agitation.

Steel Plant Employees’ Union, the recognised union of VSP and INTUC, TNTUC and all other unions of the public sector unit rejected the appeal of RINL Chairman-cum-Managing Director A.P. Choudhary not to go ahead with the strike.

Mr. Choudhary said the strike would have a cascading effect on production for days together as the rhythm would be disrupted. In his appeal he said “disinvestment of 10 per cent shares of our company has been decided by the Government of India for better corporate guarantee, accountability, efficiency of operations, greater professionalism, leveraging of funds for growth etc.” He said the strike would hit the pace of expansion.