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Complete strike at Coal India, Singareni mines: Trade unions

Five federations representing over half-a-million workers of CIL and Singareni Collieries have called for the strike, seeking withdrawal of the central government's move.

Updated: Sep 24, 2019, 08.23 PM IST
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Trade unions on Tuesday claimed that production and dispatch came to a "complete halt" at the mines of Coal India Ltd and Singareni Collieries Company Ltd, owing to the one-day strike against the Centre's decision to allow 100 per cent FDI in coal mining.

Over half-a-million workers including contract labourers of state-run Coal India and Singareni Collieries observed the strike on Tuesday seeking withdrawal of the central government's move.

"All unions except BMS will be meeting shortly to intensify their movement. The strike was total with a complete halt in production, transportation and dispatch of coal from all mines -- Assam to Singareni," All India Coal Workers' Federation General Secretary D D Ramanandan told PTI.

Ramendra Kumar, former MP and central committee president of the AITUC said that coal workers of all the subsidiaries of Coal India participated in the strike.

"The strike was successful. Telangana Boggu Gani Karmika Sangham union of SCCL has also supported the strike," Indian National Mineworkers' Federation (INMF) Secretary General SQ Zama said.

The coal behemoth accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the total output of the dry fuel in the country.

Coal India officials said the estimated production loss due to the cease work could be "less than 1.5 million tonne though final data is not available".

"In Coal India, the attendance of workers in the first shift including that of administrative and executive employees was 30 per cent," a CIL official said.

Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said the government was trying to negotiate with workmen unions to normalise the situation.

"We are trying to have negotiations with them (workers). Government is quite open and the major impact is today, he told reporters reacting to the strike.

Last week, the trade unions had declined to attend a meeting with Joshi to discuss their demand of withdrawing 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment in coal mining.

In Jharkhand, normal operation at collieries in Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) was also affected due to the strike, though the miner's subsidiary said the outsourcing of coal production remained unaffected.

CCL Director (Personnel & Administration) R S Mahapatra said that the loss due to the strike would be compensated with additional hours of work.

"So, the CCL will not face any loss due to strike," he said, adding that essential services, including water and power supply, security and medical services were not affected.

Unions that served one-day strike notice are Indian National Mineworkers' Federation (INTUC), Hind Khadan Mazdoor Federation (HMS), Indian Mineworkers' Federation (AITUC), All India Coal Workers' Federation (CITU) and All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU).

Meanwhile, RSS-affiliated labour union Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), which is not a signatory with other federations to the one-day strike notice, is observing a five-day ceasework from Monday till September 27 on the same issue.

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