Workers at India’s state-run RINL form common platform to oppose privatization

Friday, 05 February 2021 11:54:04 (GMT+3)   |   Kolkata

Various trade unions representing workers at Indian state-run steel producer Rashtirya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) have come under an umbrella organization to launch a sustained agitation to protest against and revoke the Indian government’s decision to privatize the company, trade unions leaders said on Friday, February 5.

“What we have been fearing for long has finally happened with the government approving 100 percent disinvestment of its equity in RINL to private investors. We have been left with no option but to fight it out and force the central government to withdraw the proposal,” D Adirnarayanan, a trade union leader said.

“We will take out a massive rally of all workers under a single banner and take out protests across the country,” he said.

Trade union leaders said that the central government is directly responsible for RINL’s mounting losses over the last several years and is now using it as an excuse for privatization of the 7.3 million mt per year steel mill located in the southern Indian port town of Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh state.

They said that, while most steel plants in the country like state-run Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and private steel mills like Tata Steel, JSW Limited, Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) all have their own captive iron ore mines, no such captive raw material asset has been provided to RINL by the government.

The union leaders said that other steel plants had their own captive mines and RINL has been incurring mounting losses as it is sourcing iron ore at a cost of INR 7,000/mt compared to INR 1,500/mt costs of raw materials by those steel mills which have captive iron ore mines.

RINL has to source 20,000 mt of iron ore per day via commercial purchases from NMDC Limited and this is the primary cause of the company’s losses over the years, the trade union leaders said.

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