The trade unions of Coal India on Wednesday decided to slap three-days strike notice opposing the Government's proposal to divest shares in the public sector miner.

"All the unions have agreed to declare strike from September 19-21. The workers cannot be kept in vacuum," Jivan Roy, General Secretary of All India Coal Workers Federation of India (AICWF) told Business Line .

Coal India workers are represented by five leading trade unions — INTUC, HMS, BMS, AICWF and AITUC. Other than INTUC, all the four unions have decided to go on strike. The INTUC workers are yet to make a final decision on participating in the strike. According to the unions, the stake sale would adversely impact its workers across 35 districts in the country.

The Union Coal Minister, Sriprakash Jaiswal, today said the Government is confident that the unions will agree to 5 per cent divestment proposal. Jaiswal was talking to media after a conference in Kolkata.

A single-day strike can cost the Maharatna miner loss of more than one million tonne of production.

There are nearly 3.5 lakhs permanent workers in Coal India, in addition to another 2 lakh contractual employees.

AICWF claims that the strike declared by it would mean 70-80 per cent of workers not working.

Last week, the Government failed to convince the workers of Coal India even after it offered to reduce disinvestment stake to 5 per cent from the earlier proposal of 10 per cent.

The Government is hoping to garner nearly Rs 20,000 crore by selling 10 per cent stake in Coal India. This is seen as one of the most important share sales to meet the Government’s divestment target of Rs 40,000 crore in the current fiscal.

In addition to opposing the share sale, the workers want coal mining to be given infrastructure status. Also, they want captive mines allocated to the private sector that have not been explored to be allocated to Coal India.