Millennium Post

CIL strike: Govt open to discussions, says Goyal

Ahead of the CIL workers’ proposed nation-wide stir on Friday, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said healthy conversations are the way forward and the government is always open to discussions.

The trade unions are slated to go on a nation-wide stir on September 2 to press for their various demands. “We believe as a government that healthy conversations and discussions are the way forward,” Goyal said in a interview. Asserting that it is in the interest of everybody to talk, the minister said “we are always open to discussing issues”. The minister added that strikes will not offer any benefit to the employees, workmen or the nation.

The strike comes at a time when the country is eyeing an ambitious target of 1.5 billion tonnes of coal production by 2020. Of this, CIL, which accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic output, is looking at one billion tonnes. Recently, Coal India (CIL) told the bourses: “We have received a communication for notice... for strike on September 2.” It added that efforts are being made for conciliation.

PwC’s Kameswara Rao said that “given the lean demand and high coal stocks at plants and mines, the strike will have limited direct impact”. He further said the dynamics are changing with low global coal prices and the rising share of renewable energy, and coal companies and its stakeholders should be prepared for competitive and commercial pressure.

One of the trade unions had earlier said the 12-point charter of demands jointly formulated by all central trade unions was already submitted to the government. 

The demands include urgent measures for containing price rise through universalisation of public distribution system, banning speculative trade in the commodity market and doing away with disinvestment in central or state public sector undertakings, among others.

With the state-owned behemoth having around 42 million tonnes (mt) of coal at its pithead and power plants in possession of comfortable fossil fuel stock, the proposed one-day strike on September 2 is likely to have a limited direct impact, a CIL official had earlier said. In September last year, a majority of about 4 lakh coal workers across the country had gone on strike, which hit production in a big way.

Nearly 5 lakh bank union workers and officers are set to join the strike called by unions on September 2 to protest against what they call “anti-people policies of the Modi government and labour reforms”.

Psu board okays pact with SA firm for mines acquisition
Coal India’s board has approved signing of a pact with African Exploration Mining & Finance Corporation SOC Ltd (AEMFC), owned by the South African government, for acquisition of coal mines in that country. “The CIL board has accorded approval to the proposal for execution of MoU between CIL (Coal India) and African Exploration Mining & Finance Corporation, SOC Ltd (AEMFC), an entity owned by the government of South Africa for identification, acquisition, exploration, development and operation of coal assets in South Africa,” a recent report of the PSU said.
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