Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Coal India employees postpone strike

Five national unions representing the interests of about 3.5 lakh workers of Coal India Ltd (CIL) today postponed their proposed strike and decided to approach the government with their concerns about the proposed divestment in the PSU.

Representatives of five unions — Intuc, AITUC, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and Citu — have decided to approach the coal ministry with their objections against the proposed 10 per cent stake sale and restructuring. They had assembled at the national convention of coal workers here today.
AITUC national president Ramendra Kumar, who presided over the meeting, said they would approach the government first before taking a call on the strike.
“A three-day strike was proposed in the month of September. But, today a decision was taken to approach the government first. This offers an opportunity for negotiation. If they do not take into consideration our views against the divestment, we would go ahead with the strike,” Jibon Roy, general-secretary of All India Coal Worker’s Federation, toldThe Telegraph.
The unions claim that following a 10 per cent divestment in 2010, the government had decided against diluting its stake any further. But an inter-ministerial group had last month cleared an additional 10 per cent stake sale that will lower the Centre’s holding to 80 per cent. The move is expected to fetch the exchequer an estimated Rs 20,000 crore.
The unions today said the divestment could result in more entities such as The Children’s Investment Fund (TCIF) of the UK, which are not directly involved with the production of coal, to pick up a stake in the company.
The TCIF, which has about a 1 per cent stake in CIL, had already filed a lawsuit in Calcutta High Court against the directors of the PSU. It has also raised concern over the rising wage bills of the miner.
The unions today suggested that the government should look at uniting all CIL subsidiaries to save on corporate and income tax bills.
They said the Centre should allot more new coal blocks to CIL to help it to cope with additional demand for the fuel.
Source : The Telegraph

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