UCIL mgmt, unions nearing pact to end 20-day strike

Written by fe Bureaus | Jamshedpur | Updated: Oct 28 2009, 06:41am hrs
Differences between four trade unions of the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) and the management appeared to be narrowing down since Monday when a fresh round of talks began between the two sides at Chaibasa, 90 km from here, at the behest of the regional labour commissioner (RLC).

We have given a final list of our minimum demands to the RLC who requested us on Monday to give a days time to the management to decide," said Raja Ram Singh, general secretary, Uranium Kamgar Union (UKU). He added that the two sides were almost near to reaching a consensus on the various points and that there was not much difference between the stands taken by either side.

Talks between the two sides are to resume at Chaibasa on Tuesday evening in the presence of the regional labour commissioner (central), Dhanbad, R Verma and the assistant labour commissioner (central), Chaibasa.

Union sources said the hitherto intransigent issues of conveyance allowance, annual increment and underground allowance to be paid to the 4,500-odd UCIL workers on the lines of coal industry workers by way of a new five-year agreement seemed to be nearing a consensus now.

There is some problem still with conveyance and underground allowances, while on other allowances there is a near consensus; they are paying an underground allowance of 12.5% as is being paid to coal workers; we have asked them to include also the few other favourable elements attached to this payment, which are not there presently in UCIL," said the UKU general secretary.

UCIL officers are currently in receipt of a conveyance allowance of Rs 1,200 pm on two-wheelers while the management has, after negotiations, hiked the conveyance allowance figure for workers from Rs 400 pm to Rs 600 pm.

We are saying that fuel consumption being the same for two-wheelers irrespective of who was owning it, why then this big difference; we are demanding a minimum hike of 75% in this allowance, added Bhagat.

Sources in the management too seemed to be optimistic about striking an agreement today even as the strike entered its 20th day on Tuesday.

It seems the negotiations should conclude with an agreement today," said a management source.

The strike so far at UCIL here has meant no output at the countrys six uranium ore mines and at the only two functional processing plants which transform uranium ore into magnesium diuranate, commonly known as yellow cake, which is then carried to the Nuclear Fuel Complex at Hyderabad for producing uranium sticks to feed its nuclear power plants.