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Cement union in India fights for contract workers’ wages

25 January, 2018IndustriALL Indian affiliate Chanda Cement Works Employees Union have signed a wage agreement covering over 1,000 contract workers at a Lafarge Holcim plant.

Drawn-out wage negotiations by the Chanda Cement Works Employees Union (CCWEU) have resulted in the signing of memorandum of understanding with a contractor at ACC Ltd, a Lafarge Holcim plant in India’s Chandrapur district. The plant employs about 223 permanent workers and about 1,100 contract workers.

In April 2017, the union submitted a charter of demands to the management on behalf of contract workers working in various establishments of the ACC Ltd. A series of tripartite conciliation proceedings were held in the regional labour commissioner office in Nagpur.

After long and intense discussions and the final conciliation proceedings, CCWEU reached a tripartite agreement on 21 January for the period of three years. The contractor of ACC Ltd agreed to pay enhanced wages for the contract workers with effect from 1 April 2017. It was also agreed that arrears arose due to enhancement of wages will be paid before 26 January 2018.

In case of termination of the contractor during the period of the agreement, the management of ACC Ltd agreed to implement provisions of this settlement in respect of incoming contractor.

Terms of the agreement also mandate the contractor to pay 50 per cent of the premium liabilities of eligible contract workers for the government sponsored social security schemes.

Devendra Ghalod, CCEWU general secretary says:

It’s an important responsibility of the permanent workers’ union to extend solidarity to contract workers. Even though it was long drawn process, with the present agreement we have achieved much more than statutory minimum wages prescribed by the government of Maharashtra. We will continue to protect contract workers’ interests.

Apoorva Kaiwar, IndustriALL regional secretary, adds:

Solidarity between permanent workers’ unions and precarious workers is very important. It serves to achieve better standards in the industry, and we congratualte our affiliate for successfully raising the demands of contract workers.

CCWEU is affiliated to the IndustriALL affiliate Indian National Cement Workers’ Federation.