Friday, September 20, 2013

Unions defer Coal India strike

Unions say they want more time to discuss contentious issues with government
In a relief to Coal India (CIL), workers' unions today decided to defer a three-day strike scheduled from 23rd of this month, until December following a four--hour meeting with the company management.
According to unions, they wanted more time to discuss the contentious issues with the government. However, if the demands are not met, they would go for a three-day strike starting December 17.

"Our opposition to stake-sale and proposed restructuring is still there. But we are aware of the economic situation of the country and hence we are deferring the strike," said, S Q Zama, Secretary General of Indian National Mine Workers' Federation (affiliated to INTUC), which is the largest among all the five coal workers' unions.  

"We do not want spoil the investors mood at this moment," he added. Although there was no definite promise on stake-sale and restructuring, the CIL management promised to look into other demands about wage-related benefits. CIL has also promised to facilitate further discussion with the government on all such issues.  

One day's strike would have cost CIL about one million tonne production. All the five central trade unions representing over 3,50,000 employees of CIL, had earlier served a notice for the strike starting September 23, primarily against the proposed disinvestment of five percent of CIL shares. The government plans to raise about Rs 10,000 crore, one fourth of the government's disinvestment target.

However, it had initially proposed a 10% disinvestment in CIL, but later halved that following the unions' opposition. The four other unions, who have joined the protest, are All India Coal Workers Federation(affiliated Citu), Indian Mine Workers' Federation (affiliated to AITUC), Hind Khadan Mazdoor Federation (affiliated to HMS) and Akhil Bhartuya Khadan Majdur Sangh (affiliated to BMS).

Source : Business Standard

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