BHILAI: Steelworkers, who were hoping to receive a boost in their paychecks, will be disappointed after the government announced it has announced new cuts to the industry.
Steelworkers and the government will have to cut a further 20,000 jobs in the steel industry this year.
Steel production has been on the rise in India for the past decade and the ministry of industrial affairs said this year’s production was at its highest level in 20 years.
In a press conference, the government said the number of steelworkers in India will be cut by 20,817.
The number of industrial steel employees in India is expected to fall by 9,000 in this year-end.
The government also announced it will raise the minimum wage from 8,000 to 10,000 rupees ($1,200 to $2,500) this year and also announced that it will increase the minimum age for industrial steel workers from 40 to 45 years.
The country’s steel industry is expected hit by a drop in demand from the global markets as steel prices have been on a downward spiral in recent years.
Indian steel workers say the cutbacks have caused them to work less and take longer breaks during the summer holidays.
Some have also said the cuts are a result of the government’s efforts to tackle the impact of the Zika virus on the industry, which was recently declared a pandemic.
The Steel Workers’ Federation of India said the government has failed to address the industry’s long-term future, saying the government should focus on providing industrial steelworkers with the minimum support they need to work safely.
“The government has been neglecting steelworkers and making cuts that could seriously affect their livelihood,” the federation said in a statement.
The union has also warned that the country’s industrial steel industry will collapse if the cuts go ahead.
“The government should consider the needs of the steelworkers, and not cut corners to please the political leaders,” the steel workers’ federation said.
The ministry of industry affairs said it has taken the steps to ensure a “safe and healthy working environment for industrial workers, who are a vital part of our economy.”