Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA), a body representing the employers of the cement industry, and the National Federation of Trade Unions, a representative body of cement workers, have signed a new wage agreement.
The fresh wage settlement will be valid for four years, and cover the period beginning April 2014 to March 2018.
It will benefit workers employed by 20 companies having 85 cement units across the country, which, in turn, covers around 66 per cent of the total annual cement production capacity in the country (189 million tonnes out of the 285 million tonnes).
The new wage pact provides for an increase of Rs.6,000 a month in the gross pay of cement workers. And, this will be paid in two instalments of Rs.3,000 each in April 2014 and September 2016. The wage hike translates into an increase of 33 per cent in their salary. The settlement also provides for enhanced dearness allowance benefits.
The arrears for 16 months will be paid in two instalments.
The settlement was signed between CMA and representatives of trade unions in New Delhi on July 29 before the Chief Labour Commissioner, P. P. Mitra.
After the two Arbitration Awards in 1978 and 1982, the cement industry has been signing 12 (3) settlements under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 at the conclusion of bilateral negotiations with the National Federation of Trade Unions (comprising INTUC, BMS, AITUC, HMS, CITU and LPF), representing cement workers across the country.
Together with the current settlement effective April1, 2014, there have been seven such national-level settlements for the cement workers from 1989 onwards.
The current settlement is unique in todays scenario since it is perhaps the only nation-wide settlement reached for workers of a major organised industry in the private sector. Despite the difficult conditions being faced by the industry, due to subdued demand and lower capacity utilisation, it has agreed to implement the wage revision in the overall interest of a large number of workers, said N. Srinivasan, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of The India Cements Ltd., who has been spearheading the negotiations on behalf of CMA for the past 25 years having concluded six out of seven settlements signed so far.