Coal India's unions are planning to go on strike on November 24 to protest the government's decision to enact the Coal Mines Ordinance 2014, which allows commercial mining by private companies and divestment of at least a 10 per cent stake in the public sector miner.
According to Jibon Roy, secretary-general of Citu-affiliated All India Coal Workers Federation, the unions met today in Ranchi and four of the five trade unions of Coal India — affiliated to INTUC, AITUC, Citu and HMS — have agreed to halt work on that day.
"The protest would be on account of the overall efforts of the government to privatise the sector," Roy said.
The strike will be in addition to the proposed nationwide agitation against the provisions of the ordinance that allows the auction of the coal blocks to private companies between November 5 and 7. The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance 2014 got the President's approval on October 21.
In a letter to the coal secretary today, the four unions said, "Through this ordinance the government has acquired powers to allow private companies to mine coal for commercial purpose, which means sale of coal in the open market. The proposition of the government is unacceptable to the workers of the coal industry."
BMS, the BJP-backed union, skipped today's meeting, Roy said.
The unions will also protest further divestment in Coal India as part of the Rs 63,000-crore asset sale programme of the central government to keep fiscal deficit in check. The government currently holds 89.65 per cent in the miner.
Coal India employs around 3.5 lakh people and the miner has often been beset by labour trouble, which hindered productivity. The planned stake sale in the company in the last financial year had to be deferred because of stiff opposition from the trade unions.
Source - Telegraph