Indian coal miners end largest strike in 30 years

A power crisis was averted after Indian coal miners call off planned 5-day strike on second day

Indian coal miners end largest strike in 30 years
World Bulletin / News Desk
 
Half a million striking coal miners will return to work in India after unions and government struck an agreement late Wednesday. 

The five-day strike was called by the country's five largest unions on Tuesday to protest against a government move to privatize the coal industry. It was the largest strike of coal miners in 30 years. 

 "Pleased to announce that matters between Coal India Limited and 5 unions were resolved harmoniously, after extensive discussions in a cordial environment,” Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said in a statement on Thursday morning. 

“We reiterated our commitment for strengthening industrial relations and safeguarding interests of workers,” he said.

Goyal assured the leaders of coal unions that government will not push for disinvestment of state-run Coal India Ltd. which is responsible for 80 percent of coal production in the country.

Goyal announced the formation of a government committee which will take one representative from each of the five striking unions. 

The decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is seen as a blow to private players who were keen to capitalize on Modi’s reform-oriented agenda. 

The privatization of the state-controlled coal industry was aimed at controlling an escalating power crisis as India imports billions of dollars of thermal coal annually. 

However, Goyal hinted that government will pursue its privatization agenda through a tweaked ordinance.

“The ordinance will also remove uncertainties and ensure continuity in supply of coal,” he said, adding that it would not affect the interest of the coal miners. 

India, which has the world’s third largest coal reserves, is working to ensure the federal government’s policy of energy security.  

Sutirtha Bhattacharya, chairman of Coal India Ltd, said that no striking employee will be penalized for not working for two days.

The cancellation of the five-day strike on its second day meant a feared power supply crisis was avoided. 

 

Last Mod: 08 Ocak 2015, 13:33
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