In what could prove to be a major set back for the Government’s disinvestment plan, workers of Coal India have rejected any move of further dilution of promoter stake in the public sector miner.
On Tuesday, the Government failed to convince the workers of Coal India even after it offered to reduce disinvestment stake to five per cent from the earlier proposal of 10 per cent.
The trade unions have threatened to go on a three-day strike if the Government decides to go-ahead with its decision to sell shares in the miner.
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 sale to meet the Government’s divestment target of Rs 40,000 crore in the current fiscal.
While workers’ representatives said that talks had failed, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal maintained that most of the trade unions had agreed for five per cent share sale.
“Most trade unions are on board. The Department of Disinvestment would discuss on how to rake in remaining funds,” Jaiswal told mediapersons.
Jivan Roy, General Secretary of All India Coal Workers Federation of India (AICWF), said, “The Government has offered to reduce the stake sale but the issue remains the same. Whether it is five per cent or 10 per cent, the problem is that you are privatising the mindset.”
Coal India workers are represented by five leading trade unions — INTUC, HMS, BMS, AICWF and AITUC. According to the unions, the stake sale would adversely impact its workers across 35 districts in the country.
“They are the most backward workers in the country. And holding all workers in one mindset is not easy,” Roy stated.
In addition, 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.