Millennium Post

CIL colliery workers plan strike on March 29

Central trade unions on Saturday announced their decision to go ahead with the proposed nationwide strike on March 29, citing failure of talks with the Coal India Ltd (CIL) management and Ministry of Coal over auction of coal blocks to private companies. 

An estimated 3 lakh permanent miners and 1.8 lakh private outsourcing workers of Coal India Ltd collieries would go on strike in protest against the auctioning of coal blocks to private companies, Rashtriya Colliery Mazdoor Sangh (RCMS) General Secretary A K Jha said here.

He made the announcement after a meeting of Joint Front comprising central trade unions INTUC, AITUC, CITU and HMS. Jha said that three rounds of talks last month with officers of CIL and the Ministry of Coal could not resolve the issue. 

“The Coal India director personnel (DP) made a positive response at bipartite meeting but the management did not issue a notification. So the recognised central trade unions resolved to stick to their decision of a strike,” he said. 

The central trade unions are opposing the auction of coal blocks, demanding employment to people whose land has been acquired for coal mining and filling of vacant posts in Coal India.  Coal, Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal had earlier said in the Lok Sabha: “Four trade unions have given notice to go on strike on March 29, protesting against the Government’s decision to disinvest, among other issues” and added that the Government is in dialogue with the unions on all matters concerning workers.

The Government had earlier sought the unions’ cooperation in combating the “difficult situation” the sector was passing through due to the steep fall in global commodity prices. 

Meanwhile, the Indian Captive Power Producers Association (ICPPA) on Saturday said that the budgetary proposal to double the cess on coal was not a “progressive tax” and should be reviewed. 
“The Union Budget 2016 has doubled the Environment Cess... the nation is already paying double the price of coal (than China)... taxes and levies further make the coal price double for nation. Thus, the  Environment Cess is not a progressive tax and warrants a review to achieve a sound and sustainable national policy,” ICPPA said in a release.
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