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Coal|Industrial|Mining|Power|Operations
Coal|Industrial|Mining|Power|Operations
coal|industrial|mining|power|operations

Coal India workers' one-day strike to have negligible impact

31st August 2016

By: Ajoy K Das

Creamer Media Correspondent

  

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KOLKATA (miningweekly.com) – Coal India Limited’s (CIL) almost 400 000 employees will go on a one-day strike at all mines across the country on Friday, but the industrial action is expected to have minimal impact, owing to large stockpiles.

Major trade unions have called for a strike across the country to protest the government’s proposal to divest part of its equity stake in the mining company, a move which the trade unions see as “creeping privatisation” of CIL.

The CIL strike will also coincide with an all-India industrial strike called by national trade unions against so-called “anti-workers” policies of the federal government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A senior government official has said that the one-day strike is unlikely to force government’s hand in its divestment plans, noting that CIL has significant stockpiles. Coal Secretary Anil Swarup previously said that, “CIL doesn’t know what to do with all the coal produced and is running after clients to take the dry fuel.”

At the start of August, CIL had pithead stocks estimated at 42-million tons. Even though the strike will hamper loading operations for a day, with thermal power plants having coal stocks averaging an equivalent of 23 days' dry fuel requirement, a day’s disruption in loading and transportation will have negligible effect, the official added.

The Indian government, which holds 79.65% of equity in CIL, has approved the sale of a further 10% of its equity holding to private investors.

The trade unions operating in CIL allege that in previous rounds of disinvestment in the mining company, the government had committed to no further equity sale to private investors and that  government is now reneging on this commitment by failing to maintain its existing equity holding.

The government for its part has, however, struck a placatory note following the notice of the strike even if it has a minimal impact.

In a statement, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said, “We believe as a government that healthy conversation and discussions is the way forward. We are always open to discussing all issues.” However, he added that strikes would not offer any benefit to the workers.

Edited by Mariaan Webb
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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