Coal workers’ one-day strike politically motivated, not enough to resist FDI: BMS

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 06, 2019 Published on September 06, 2019

Agitation organised with an eye on polls in Jharkhand, says BMS leader BK Rai

The RSS-controlled trade union Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) said on Friday that the one-day strike called by various coal workers’ federation, scheduled for September 24, is “politically-motivated”.

BMS leader in-charge of public sector enterprises, BK Rai, told BusinessLine that the strike is eyeing the upcoming Assembly elections in Jharkhand.

‘One day not enough’

Rai, agreeing with the issues raised by other trade unions, said the one-day strike is not enough to resist 100 per cent FDI in coal mining. “The Centre will not budge until and unless the coal sector is shut at least for 15 days. For this, the trade unions need public support,” Rai said.

He added that the BMS will convene a convention of like-minded trade unions and individuals against the privatisation of the public sector. “If FDI is allowed in such key sectors, the country will again become a foreign slave. Such measures of the government should be opposed by organising all patriots who want to protect the public wealth of the country,” Rai said. He said he will hold discussions with other trade unions, too, on the issue. “No one will gain by politicising this issue,” he said.

Five federations, except that of the BMS, representing about five lakh coal workers in Coal India Limited (CIL), other government-owned coal companies and Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL), have given notice to the Centre that they will observe one-day strike on September 24. They have urged the Centre to withdraw the decision to allow 100 per cent FDI in coal mining and also want the Centre to merge all public-sector coal miners into the CIL.

All India Coal Workers Federation general secretary DD Ramanandan told BusinessLine that the BMS is not a major union among the coal workers. “However, if they announce a 15-day strike against FDI in mining, we will support it. However, we doubt that the BMS will hold a strike against the government.

The allegation that our strike is politically-motivated is baseless. We are continuing with mine pit meetings and the support from workers is unprecedented,” Ramanandan added. All central trade unions except the BMS, such as INTUC, AITUC, CITU and AICCTU, are in support of the workers’ strike.

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Published on September 06, 2019
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