Coal India strike deferred till mid December

Last Updated: Fri, Sep 20, 2013 16:30 hrs

Kolkata, Sep 20 (IANS) The proposed three-day strike in world's largest coal miner, Coal India Limited (CIL), next week was Friday deferred till mid-December by trade unions following discussions with the management here.

According to unions, they wanted more time to discuss the contentious issues with the government. However, if the demands are not met, they would go for a three-day strike starting Dec 17.

"Our opposition to stake sale and proposed restructuring is still there. But we are aware of the economic situation of the country and hence we are deferring the strike," said S.Q. Zama, secretary general of Indian National Mine Workers' Federation (affiliated to INTUC), which is the largest among all the five coal workers' unions who had called the strike.

"We do not want to spoil the investors mood at this moment," added Zama after a four hour meeting with the management here.

The last two meetings held in August were inconclusive.

The trade unions operating in CIL and its subsidiaries Aug 20 served the strike notice beginning Sep 23 against proposed disinvestment of five percent of CIL shares and to press for other demands.

The government which aims to raise about Rs.10,000 crore through the stake sale, initially had proposed a 10 percent disinvestment in CIL, but later halved it following the unions' opposition.

The unions - Indian National Trade Union Congress, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, All India Coal Workers' Federation and All India Trade Union Congress - represent about 90 percent of CIL's 383,000-strong workforce.

CIL, the world's largest miner producing over 80 percent of India's coal, churned out 452.21 million tonnes in 2012-13. There were apprehensions the threatened strike would have caused losses of over Rs.500 crore.

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