People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 40

October 05, 2003

 Coal Workers Convention Opposes Privatisation


FIVE major trade unions in the coal industry --- namely, the Indian National Mines Workers Federation (INTUC), Indian Mine Workers Federation (AITUC), All India Coal Workers Federation (CITU), Hind Khadan Mazdoor Federation (HMS) and Akil Bharatiya Khadan Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) --- held a convention at Asansol, West Bengal, on September 14. Attended by over 600 delegates, the convention strongly opposed privatisation of the coal industry through the back door and expressed the unions’ determination to organise a countrywide struggle to defeat the anti-public sector policies of the government of India.


A presidium consisting Rajednra Prasad Singh (INTUC) M K Pandhe (CITU), J N Singh (BMS), Ramendra Kumar (AITUC) and P L Sen (HMS) conducted the deliberations of the convention.


The convention unanimously decided to conduct a nationwide action programme to press the following demands.


1) Withdraw the Coal Mines Nationalisation (Amendment) Bill 2000.


2) Restore the customs duty on imported coal to the pre-1991 level.


3) Stop outsourcing of coalmines to private parties and handing over 31 coal blocks to state governments for outsourcing them to contractors.


4) Prepare joint revival packages for the ECL, BCCI, and NECL (Assam),CMDDI and Dankani by granting them timebound financial assistance from the central government.


5) Coal India should be a unitary coal company for faster development of coal industry in India.


6) Ensure proper safety and welfare measures for coal workers.


7) Full implementation of agreement dated August 1, 2002 before the CLC(C).


8) The NCWA-VII should the national wage for the entire coal industry, including those working under contractors.


9) Strong action against corruption, theft, malpractices and illegal mining in coal industry.


10) No closure of mines having mineable reserves of coal.


11) Stop the reckless ‘voluntary’ retirement scheme and arbitrary reduction of manpower in the coal industry.


The convention decided to hold company level conventions by October 31. The said unions will hold company level demonstrations by November 15, for getting implemented the demands raised by the convention.


The convention authorised the leadership of the said federations to brief the members of parliament belonging to all political parties on the problems facing the coal industry and the demands raised by the convention.


If, however, the government of India continue its policy of privatisation, the trade unions working in the coal industry will hold a demonstration in front of the Coal India headquarters at Kolkata on December 17. There, further programme of action will also be announced and it may include a long drawn strike action to press the government of India to give up its retrograde policy to liquidate the public sector coal industry through various subterfuges. (INN)