Coal India workers call off strike

Government agrees to set up a committee to discuss demands

jasleen

Jasleen Kaur | January 7, 2015 | New Delhi



After six hours of marathon discussion with the government the representatives of the five major trade unions, which had shut down production at all coalfields of Coal India Limited (CIL) for five days, agreed to call off the strike on Wednesday. The trade unions reached an agreement after a long meeting with coal minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday evening.

ALSO READ: Coal workers strike may hit power plants

Speaking with Governance Now, Jibon Roy, general secretary of All India Coal Workers Federation (AICWF), said that the strike has been withdrawn as the government has agreed to form a committee to discuss the coal block ordinance. He said, "the committee will consists of representatives of five trade unions and join secretary to discuss the ordinance. Though AICWF has not agreed with this but we will also call off the strike. We will just hold demonstrations on Thursday."

The unions had earlier boycotted a meeting called by Goyal on Saturday. They were opposing the government's coal block ordinance which may allow private companies to mine and sell coal commercially.

The two-day long strike started just a day after the newly appointed chairman and managing director Sutirtha Bhattacharya took charge. The post of the CMD was vacant for over five months.

The strikers, including permanent and contractual coal workers, were protesting against the government's plan to disinvest and they were demanding the roll-back of process of denationalisation of coal sector.

Even the BJP-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh was participating in the strike along with other unions like INTUC, AITUC, CITU and HMS.

Roy had said that the government was exploiting the supreme court verdict on on denationalisation of coal industry and demanded that whichever mines were allotted illegally should be given back to CIL.

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