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Left union plans strike in Coal India against privatisation
Saturday December 6, 2014 7:25 PM, IANS

CPI-M-affiliated All India Coal Workers Federation (AICWF) is planning a strike in government-owned Coal India protesting against the move to allow private players sell coal in the commercial market as also for highlighting the plight of the workers.

Alleging that a "slavery" like situation will arise as a result of the privatisation drive, the AICWF said the dates have been discussed internally and the strike notice will be given to Coal India shortly.

"The strike will follow a huge agitation," union general secretary Jiban Roy told IANS.

Coal India's operations involve 38 districts across the nation where according to AICWF, tribals and backward-class people comprise a bulk of the PSU's labour force which will be direly affected if the privatisation move is adopted.

"The strike is not just to protest against the privatisation drive by the union government but also to highlight the plight of the existing labour force," Roy said.

He alleged the government will not take any responsibility of the workforce involved in private sector led coal mining and the privatisation drive will lead to deforestation which will result in considerable displacement of the tribal population.

This move follows a bill on coal block auctions being passed by the cabinet and being readied to be placed in parliament.

The cabinet Tuesday cleared Coal Mine Ordinance, a bill on coal block auctions to replace an ordinance that was promulgated to begin auction of coal mines previously cancelled by the Supreme Court. The bill aims to replace the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 2014.

A senior official in Coal India clarified that the Maharatna CPSU has not received any strike notice from any of the trade unions.

"There is no intimation with the personnel department or any of other departments over any call for strike," a senior Coal India official told IANS.

The union government had approved a divestment of 10 percent stake in 2010 in the world's largest coal producer whose net profit fell by 28.17 percent in Q2 this financial year compared to the previous fiscal on a consolidated basis.

The company is the second largest employer in the country following Indian Railways and employs 357,926 personnel as on March 31, 2013.

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