VSP contract workers' strike termed illegal

Indefinite stir enters 11th day on Monday

Staff Reporter

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Ukku Contractors' Welfare Association has termed the strike of contract workers in Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) illegal, as labourers are not attending duty from June 2 without any intimation to their employers, namely the contractors.

``It is known to all contract workers that we have been religiously making payments to them as per the statutory provisions in force from time-to-time in line with the notifications issued by the Labour Department of the Andhra Pradesh Government. We are also implementing the provisions of all other Acts in force and the relevant records are being verified by the inspecting officers of the Government. This has already been clarified to the Deputy Labour Commissioner on June 3, 4 and 12, when he called us for discussion,'' said a statement issued here on Monday by the association.

The statement signed by the association president, general secretary and treasurer, N. Simhadri Rao, U.V.V.S.N. Raju and G. Koteswara Rao, respectively, said: "Since the contract labourers have been absenting themselves without prior permission from the contactors, their gate passes are under the process of cancellation and they may collect their full and final settlement dues after handing over the tools and tackles and gate passes.''

`Misleading workers'

Describing the strike of contract workers spearheaded by the CITU and the AITUC affiliate unions, the general secretary of the recognised Visakha Steel Employees Congress (VSEC), Mantri Rajasekhar, said that the Leftist unions "are misleading the innocent and illiterate contract workers and indulging in manhandling the loyal and non-striking workers.''

Addressing a meeting of workers in Ukkunagaram on Monday, he appealed to the VSP management and the security personnel to extend necessary protection to non-strikers at the work spot and at their residential colonies.

Mr. Rajasekhar accused said the CITU and the AITUC of spoiling the prevailing cordial industrial atmosphere at a time when everything was set for a positive result.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has urged the Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, and the Union Minister for Steel, Ram Vilas Paswan, to intervene and find out an amicable solution to the problem

The indefinite stir by the 8,000-odd workers, which entered the 11th day on Monday, has crippled the functioning of VSP.

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