Coal workers’ nationwide strike enters second day
On its first day, the strike impacted 75 per cent of the 1.5 million tonnes of daily coal production, while fuel supplies to nearly 100 power plants across the country may also be impacted if the impasse continues.
Unions said nearly 5 lakh workers, including those of Coal India, have joined the strike.
“We are united and continue our strike on the second day,” Indian National Mine Workers’ Federation (INTUC) Secretary General S.Q. Zama told PTI, adding “we will continue with the strike till January 10.”
However, the unions — whose negotiations with Coal Secretary Anil Swarup failed on Tuesday — are open for talks with Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal or Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We don’t have any information about the meeting of the trade unions with the Coal Minister but we are available and open for discussions both with the Coal Minister and Prime Minister,” the INTUC secretary said.
A senior Coal India official told PTI that workers will launch the protest more “aggressively” from Wednesday.
About 5 lakh coal workers across the country went on a five-day strike on Tuesday which is being billed as the biggest industrial action since 1977.
The industrial action is in protest of “disinvestment and restructuring of state-run Coal India” and press for demands, including the roll-back of what unions call “process of denationalising of coal sector.”
The strike call has been given by all five leading trade unions of the country, including the BJP-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS).
The strike, joined by all five major trade unions — BMS, INTUC, AITUC, CITU and HMS — is also likely to affect fuel supply to power plants.
CIL accounts for over 80 per cent of domestic coal production.
“Negotiations at the secretary level have failed but we are open for discussions at political level, at the level of Prime Minister or Coal Minister. We did our best to arrive at an amicable solution but the (Coal) Secretary has his own limitations. Around five lakh workers, including 3.5 lakh from CIL, are on strike,” the INTUC secretary had said late last night.
CIL Chairman Sutirtha Bhattacharya, who assumed charge on Monday, had said he is hopeful that the situation would be resolved in an amicable manner