Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday assured trade union leaders that he would intervene to end the stalemate in wage negotiations in the public sector undertakings.

This assurance was given to a delegation of the Committee of Public Sector Trade Unions, led by Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Sitaram Yechury, that met him here on Monday.

Delay in negotiations

The delegation pointed out that despite a lapse of 16 months after the expiry of the last agreement, the wage negotiations of the public sector undertakings had been stalled due to the managements’ insistence on a 10-year settlement in the wake of a directive from the Department of Public Enterprises while all trade unions had demanded a five-year settlement.

The delegation pointed out that at the informal meeting with the representatives of all major public sector undertakings on March 13, 2008, the managements favoured a five year settlement.

Strike plan deferred

According to a statement issued by the Committee, Dr. Singh reportedly agreed to intervene in the matter and take it up with the Minister of Heavy Industries so that the controversy was amicably settled. He also appealed to the trade unions not to press for an all-India strike on May 7. The strike has subsequently been deferred in view of the assurance.

The delegation comprised H. Mahadevan (All-India Trade Union Congress), M.K. Pandhe (Centre of Indian Trade Unions), R.A. Mittal (Hind Mazdoor Sabha), D. Ananthapadmanabhan (Joint Action Front, Bangalore) and B.N. Sudarshan (Committee of PSU Unions, Hyderabad).