Coal minister Pralhad Joshi has given directions to Coal India to conclude the wage pact of its non-executive workforce at the earliest. The minister has said that all pending issues should be sorted out and emphasised that he would not allow the trade unions to go on strike on the issue.
Wages of non-executive workers, who account for over 90 per cent of Coal India's (CIL) workforce, are revised every five years. Workers are seeking a 28 per cent increase in wages, while Coal India has offered a 10.5 per cent raise, according to a union leader.
"Normally the agreement takes place between Coal India and labour unions. I have told management (of Coal India) to have a cordial relation with them and have a cordial meeting and sort out the issue. I want that whatever the issues are pending should be sorted out," Joshi told PTI.
Stating that from the past five-six months the negotiations between Coal India management and trade unions on wage revision are underway, the minister said that he has given directions to arrive at the solution at the earliest.
"According to me, the agreement will happen very soon. I have told the CMD (Coal India) and other directors (of the PSU) to be liberal and work it out and they are working it out," the minister explained.
The latest wage revision, which would benefit around 2.39 lakh non-executive staffers of CIL, has been due since July 1, 2021. CIL accounts for over 80 per cent of domestic coal output.
The minister earlier said that the negotiations between CIL management and representatives of Central Trade Unions operating in the coal sector under the Joint Bipartite Committee for the Coal Industry (JBCCI)-XI for the finalisation of National Coal Wage Agreement (NCWA)-XI has taken place.
“There is least chance of any adverse effect on fuel supply on account of the wage negotiations,” he added.
CIL Chairman Pramod Agrawal had earlier said that concluding a wage revision pact with coal workers is of "highest priority" and the public sector enterprise is committed to reaching a deal amicably at the earliest.
According to industry watchers, if Coal India workers decide to go on strike, in case of further delays in finalising their wage hikes, the stir may hit coal production.
This, according to them, maybe a deterrent to the efforts being made by the government to ramp up the country's output to avoid the recurrence of the fuel shortages which had happened in the peak summer months this year.