The Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) congratulates the coal workers of the Public sector coal industry for the overwhelming success of the all-India strike beginning from 6th January 2015 and calls upon them to continue this historic united struggle against the anti-worker, anti-national policy of the Modi Govt. More than 90% of the over 3.5 lakh workers in the various subsidiaries of Coal India and the Singareni Colliery Company Ltd. (SCCL) went on strike on 6th Jan., the first day of the five day strike call initiated jointly by the central trade unions recognized by the govt. in the coal industry and supported by IFTU. The recognized union in SCCL which is linked to the TRS party however has not supported the strike.
The strike has been called to oppose the Modi Govt.’s attempts to privatize the public sector coal industry. IFTU has demanded that the Govt. immediately withdraw the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance 2014 which clears the way for large scale entry of the Corporates into the coal mining sector not only for their captive use for power plants, steel plants etc. but also for direct sale of coal in the market which has hitherto been restricted to the public sector companies. The private sector companies’ are not covered by the National Coal Wage agreements and they will be free to pay their workers much lower wages and severely exploit them. The aim of the govt. ultimately is to lower the wages of coal workers in this manner and ensure massive profits for the corporates while sounding the death-knell for the public sector coal companies.
The other demands of the strike include stopping of disinvestment, stopping outsourcing and for regularization of these and other contract workers, equal wages for equal work and application of the National Coal Wage agreements to all workers of the coal industry, stopping investment by Coal India abroad, giving budgetary support to public sector coal companies for expansion, etc.
IFTU calls upon the workers to maintain the strike successfully for the entire five days and give a fitting reply to the pro-corporate anti-worker Govt.