Millennium Post

Goa CM-ordered mining ban cost 65% workers jobs

The suspension of mining activity by the Goa government in September 2012 left 65 per cent of the industry workforce jobless, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) said here on Monday.

Most of the workers were contract-employees, and were sacked once the mining activity came to a standstill, said AITUC.
‘Of about one lakh workers, as many as 65,000 were sacked after the insensitive order of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to suspend mining in September 2012,’ it said. The suspension was followed by the Supreme Court’s temporary ban later that year, which was revoked only this month.
‘These workers were employed in mining or allied activities, as truck drivers, cleaners, barge workers, machine operators, etc,’ AITUC Goa General Secretary Christopher Fonseca said.

Many of the workers were from outside, and returned to their home states as they could not survive here without the job, he said. Some 30,000 truck drivers and cleaners and 5,000 barge workers were the first to be hit, he said.
Half the mines had no labour unions as the workers were employed on contract basis and were not allowed to form unions. ‘The laws don’t allow certain jobs to be contracted. But the mine-owners violated the laws and state and Union labour ministries were mute spectators,’ AITUC leader Raju Mangueshkar said.

The Union demanded that the state government’s labour department should form a special cell and register the workers who lost their jobs. The Supreme Court, while allowing resumption of mining in Goa, has directed that the state should pay half the salary for the ban period to the workers on the muster-roll.
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