‘Coal strike total, production loss at 2.1 mt’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 24, 2019 Published on September 25, 2019

Decided to boycott Coal Ministry’s invitation for talks as there has been no change in the Centre’s stance: CITU

The Central Trade Unions congratulated coal workers for a “total strike” against the Centre’s decision to allow 100 per cent FDI in mining.

The trade unions estimated that the one-day strike has caused a 2.13 million tonne drop in coal production and a loss of ₹4,000 crore.

Responding to Coal Minister Prahlad Joshi’s statement that no meetings had been called yet between the trade unions and the Centre, the federations said both the Coal Ministry and the Central Labour Commissioner had invited the unions for conciliatory talks.

“The Ministry had invited us for a discussion on September 19. We decided to boycott it as there is no change in the Centre’s decision to allow 100 per cent FDI in mining,” said All India Coal Workers Federation (CITU) general secretary DD Ramanandan.

“The strike is total from Assam to Telangana. None of the Coal India mines or its subsidiary companies’ mines was functional on Tuesday,” he said and added that both the mining and transportation of coal was disrupted.

The Central Trade Unions said the Coal Workers Federations had earlier urged the Centre to withdraw its decision to allow 100 per cent FDI and commercial mining in the coal sector.

“They are so firm that they even refused to attend a meeting called by the Coal Minister on September 19. Their point is simple: The demand to scrap 100 per cent FDI in Coal Sector is non-negotiable!” the trade unions said in a statement.

Indian Mine Workers Federation (affilated to AITUC), Indian National Workers Federation (INTUC), Hind Khadan Mazdoor Federation (HMS), All India Coal Workers Federation (CITU), All India Coal Miners Federation (AIUTUC) and AICCTU have participated in the one-day strike. The BJP-led Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangathan has also started a five-day strike in the sector from Monday on the same demands.

The CITU said in a separate statement that the Centre’s decision allows foreign companies to not only extract coal from mines but also sell it at market prices by exporting it.

‘In nation’s interest’

“The government allowed these profits to be siphoned off to their countries. By going on a total strike against this, the coal workers have once again proved that it is them, as part of the working class, who are really determined to protect the interests of the nation.

“Through the strike they have expressed their strong patriotic feelings,” CITU said.

BMS leader in-charge of public sector enterprises BK Rai told BusinessLine that his organisation’s five-day strike is successful. “We are trying our level best to question this government’s mining policy. We are fighting this government. But other trade unions are fighting us,” Rai said.

Published on September 25, 2019
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