This has helped in maintaining industrial peace and cordial relations between the management and workmen in the cement industry.
Cement Manufacturers’ Association (CMA) and Federation of major Central Trade Unions (INTUC, AITUC, BMS, HMS, and CITU & LPF) have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to benefit a large number of employees in the Indian cement industry by way of an increase in gross pay, enhanced dearness allowance and service weightage. Before finalising the MoU, both the parties held a few rounds of negotiations in the last few months.
The current MoU is unique in today’s scenario as it is the only industry-wide, national level settlement amicably reached for a large number of employees of a major organised industry in the private sector apart from public sector banks.
The present MoU is for a duration of four years from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2022. The MoU provides for an increase of `5,000 per month in the gross pay of cement employees (to be paid in two installments of `2,500 each, with effect from April 1, 2018 & April 1, 2020). The MoU also provides for enhanced dearness allowance, service weightage benefits and other benefits. Arrears for 10 months will be paid in two installments, said a statement here on Tuesday.
The negotiation committee was headed by N Srinivasan, vice-chairman & managing director, India Cements, who was the president of CMA earlier. In all, 21 cement companies, which covered 60% of country’s total cement capacity, including India Cements, UltraTech, Ramco Cements, Dalmia Cement, Chettinad Cement, Zuari Cement, JK Lakshmi Cement and Century Cement, among others have authorised CMA to negotiate with the trade unions on behalf of them.
CMA, the only employers’ representative body for the cement industry in India, has been representing the employers in wage negotiation from 1978 onwards. After the two arbitration awards in 1978 & 1982, cement industry has been signing settlements under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Together with the current MoU effective April 1, 2018, there have been 8 such national level settlements.
Srinivasan, who was president of CMA for five terms (1991 to 1994 and 2004 to 2006), has been spearheading the negotiations on behalf of CMA for the past 26 years (since 1992) and helped in amicably concluding 7 out of the 8 wage settlements for the cement industry, including the current MoU. This has helped in maintaining industrial peace and cordial relations between the management and workmen in the cement industry.
Srinivasan in a statement said, “The cement industry is facing many challenges. Not all regions are prosperous. Limestone deposits are available only in seven states. The industry had faced weak demand in the last seven years. It is left to face enormous cost pressure. At the same time, cement industry has been a benevolent employer. The national level, industry-wide settlement since 1992 is unique as it is collective bargaining in its truest sense as the management and the unions sit across the table and then it is signed before the Central chief labour commissioner in New Delhi. This has assured industrial peace in the industry in the last 26 years.”
The talks were coordinated by KK Maheshwari (managing director, UltraTech Cement), Mahendra Singhi (group CEO & wholetime director, Dalmia Cement), CMA president HM Bangur (managing director, Shree Cement), S Chouksey (group CEO & wholetime director, JK Lakshmi Cement) and ex-CMA president Rupa Gurunath (wholetime director, The India Cements) and Aparna Dutt Sharma (secretary general, CMA).
The central trade unions were represented by G Sanjeeva Reddy (president of INTUC & ex-MP), Deo Raj Singh (organising secretary, INTUC), Ghisulal B Kalal, (national executive member, BMS), H Mahadevan (working president, AITUC), Nishith Chowdhury (convenor, CITU), Mukesh Galav (national secretary, HMS) and M Shanmugam (general secretary, LPF), the press release added.