(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 04, 2010
Coal Workers to Strike against Disinvestment
M K Pandhe
MEETING at Ranchi on March 27,
federations of coal workers in the country, viz Indian National Mine
Federation (INTUC), All India Coal Workers Federation (CITU), Indian
Workers Federation (AITUC), Hind Khadan Mazdoor Federation (HMS) and
Bharatiya Khadan Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), have called for observing a
on May 5-7, 2010. The strike is to take place on a nine point charter
including a halt to the government of
The government of
When the government gave the Coal India the navaratna (nine jewels) status, it said at the same time that it would disinvest its holdings in the share market. Recently, the union government announced its intention for the same, to get Rs 10,000 crore to meet its budgetary deficit.
The Coal India had given to the
The management has decided to give a part of the share holdings to workers with a view to making them accept the policy of disinvestment. However, trade unions have rejected this proposal and oppose all steps towards disinvestment.
The nine point charter of
demands prepared by the
trade unions in the meeting has said a flat No to the disinvestment of
Unions also want stop to further
outsourcing of Coal
NO COAL BLOCKS
Unions have demanded stop to allotment of virgin coal blocks to private sector. The union government has allotted over 200 coal blocks to the private sector and coal mafias who pay extremely low wages and mercilessly exploit the coal workers. The blocks given to the private sector altogether have a reserve of over 60 billion tonnes of coal.
Though the government has given coal blocks to private operators, many of the latter have not commenced production though their agreement period is over. The unions demand that the lease of all private operators must be cancelled and the blocks handed over to public sector companies. Several blocks given to private operators fall within the command areas of public sector coal companies. So the private companies utilise all the infrastructure facilities created by public sector companies, thus adding to their profitability. The unions therefore demand that all these blocks must go to public sector coal companies for increased coal production in the country.
Several land-losers had given their land for coal production but have not received fair compensation and jobs in a coal company. The trade unions therefore demand that they must get adequate compensation and rehabilitation packages including jobs to the satisfaction of the land-losers.
The government of
Today the coal workers get a paltry pension which does not meet their requirements. Hence the unions demand that the present rate of 25 per cent as pension must be raised to 40 per cent so that the workers get some relief in their post-retirement life.
The government of
Instead of fully developing the
coal mines in
Though the Indian coal industry has big potential to meet all the coal requirements of the country, it is unable to fully utilise this potential due to bad planning and policies. More employment can be generated in coal mines if the government adopt proper policies. Hence the trade unions have raised this demand about the Coal Videsh in the interest of the industry and the country.
The government of
Already there is acute
discontent among the coal
miners all over
At present workers are not getting any such payment and thus these bonanzas will increase the disparity of earnings and benefits between the executives and workers. It is the so-called logic of market economy that dictates the union government when it sets to decide the emoluments of executives and workers.
All the five abovementioned
federations have decided
to launch a countrywide struggle to achieve these legitimate demands of
workers. All of them are determined not to allow the government of
Several top bureaucrats in the coal industry have joined the private sector coal mines. During their tenure in the public sector coal industry, many of these bureaucrats had had underhand dealings with unscrupulous contractors, helping the latter to mint money at the cost of the public sector coal industry.
These are the reasons the meeting decided to warn the government to stop disinvestment of Coal India by April 18. Otherwise, all federations will hold massive demonstrations at the headquarters of Coal India subsidiaries and serve strike notices on April 19. in case the government does not pay heed to the warning, all the coal mines in India will come to a grinding halt from May 5 to 7 because of a three-day strike all over India.
However, if the government of India even then does not pay attention to the demands formulated by the coal unions, the latter will perforce go on an indefinite coal industry strike all over India --- may be in the month of June. The remarkable unity achieved by the coal workers in India will carry the struggle forward till they force the government to give up its policy of privatisation and disinvestment. It is the government of India that alone will be responsible if a long drawn strike adversely affects the thermal power stations and inconveniences the people.