Coal workers' strike: Trade unions to decide on future course of action

Amid the ongoing strike, CIL had on Friday said it despatched 5.78 lakh tonnes (LT) of coal on Thursday

The three-day nationwide strike by coal workers, which entered the third day on Saturday, has been "100 per cent peaceful", a trade union leader said.

Five trade unions, including RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), of Coal India (CIL) have been on strike since Thursday to protest against the government's decision to start commercial coal mining.

The five unions have a virtual meeting scheduled on Saturday to decide the next course of action.

"The three-day strike has been 100 per cent peaceful, which in itself is a success," Nathulal Pandey, president of HMS-affiliated Hind Khadan Mazdoor Federation, said.

Stating the protest has been "self-oriented", he said coal mines across the country which were closed on Friday are not functioning on Saturday as well.

"The law and order situation is normal," he added.

S Q Zama, secretary general of the Indian National Mineworkers' Federation, affiliated to INTUC, said the strike is still continuing.

The participation of workers in the strike has been around 80 per cent, he said, adding "75-80 per cent of the coal production has been hit (this is the position as on the first shift)."

At some places, the management is trying to start work through contract/outsourced workers with the help of local police, but activists of the five Central Trade Unions (CTUs) are resisting this and trying to stop contract workers from going to work in a peaceful and democratic manner, he added.

Tapan Sen, general secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), said that in comparison to the previous two days, more workers have joined the strike on Saturday.

"All trade unions are against commercial mining by private players. We are determined to resist that in the days to come," Sen said.

Amid the ongoing strike, CIL had on Friday said it despatched 5.78 lakh tonnes (LT) of coal on Thursday.

This is around 42 per cent of the normal off-take of 14 LT per day, calculated as the average of 10 days immediately prior to stoppage of operations, Coal India had said in a statement.

Coal production was 4.81 LT, which is close to 38 per cent of the normal level of 13 LT per day.

Average attendance was close to 34 per cent on Thursday, which is likely to improve further as some workmen have started resuming their duties, Coal India had said.

CIL CMD Pramod Agrawal on Thursday had appealed to the striking workmen to resume their duties.

"Considering the Covid situation in the country and the international scenario, Coal India's role assumes all the more importance and I earnestly appeal to you to resume your duties in the larger interest of the nation," he said in a statement.

Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi too had on Thursday urged Coal India workers to end their strike and resume work.

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