Friday, January 13, 2012

Coal India agrees to give 25% wage hikes


Coal India on Thursday agreed to a wage hike of 25% for its three lakh-odd mine workers, in line with what the street was expecting but much higher than what the management of the public sector coal producer was hoping for.
“It has taken three days. We started with 10% and they (unions) started with 30%. And we ended at 25%,” R. Mohan Das, director, personnel and industrial relations, said after the round of talks ended in Nagpur. “It was tough.”
“After discussions, management has agreed for 25% minimum guaranteed benefit on gross wages as on June 30 of last year,” S Q Zama, secretary general of Indian National Mine Workers’ Federation, affiliated to INTUC, told DNA Money from Nagpur following the conclusion of three-day-long negotiations between the Coal India management and the Joint Bipartite Committee for the Coal Industry represented by various trade unions for what is termed as the 9th National Coal Wage Agreement (NCWA-IX).
As for the perks and allowances, Coal India management is not willing to agree to any hike, the union leader said.
“From the union side, we have unanimously demanded that there should be no cut in any allowances on account of delay in signing of NCWA-IX. From the management side, they insisted that they are not in a position to bear any additional financial liability except for 25% growth on gross,” read a press note prepared by the unions after the meeting.
“The final NCWA-IX pact, after conclusion of the negotiations for allowances and perks is likely to get finalised and signed with the management in Kolkata after final discussions to be held there on January 27 and 28,” said Zama.
The current negotiations were wrapped up much faster than the time taken by the previous committee to fix wages, whose validity ended in June 2011.
Coal India’s wage bill for its workers is Rs15,000 crore a year and a 25% hike entails an additional financial burden of `3,750 crore a year for five years with effect from July 2011.
“A 25% hike is in line with the expectation of the market as the previous pact gave workers a increase of 24%,” said RBS analyst Rahul Jain.
The unions had taken an aggressive stance earlier, seeking a whopping 100% hike citing surging profits of the near-monopoly coal miner on the back of successive price hikes and a big bang initial public offering. They then demanded that the floor for starting negotiations should be a 24% hike and not 10% as demanded by the management.
Source : DNA, Livemint

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