Trade union leaders during a meeting for the nation wide coal industry strike at Katras Colliery area in Dhanbad on Friday(HT Photo)
Trade union leaders during a meeting for the nation wide coal industry strike at Katras Colliery area in Dhanbad on Friday(HT Photo)

Coal industry trade unions split over two-day strike

Rashtriya Colliery Mazdoor Sangh (RCMS), a major constituent of INTUC, while supporting the agitation, has said since coal India management has adopted anti-labour policy, over 3.2 lakhs miners don’t have any option but to go on a nationwide strike.
By Subhash Mishra | Hindustan Times, Dhanbad
PUBLISHED ON DEC 30, 2018 03:43 PM IST

Over three lakhs miners are in dilemma as central trade unions are a divided house over the two-day nationwide strike (January 8-9) in coal industry.

While the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Central Industrial Trade Union (CITU), All India Central Trade Union (AICTU) and Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) have given a call for coal industry strike, Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has opposed it, terming it a political move not in interest of miners. The last time, the CIL had faced a strike was on September 2, 2016.

“We don’t know whether we should join the strike or oppose it as trade unions have different opinions. If we oppose four central trade unions would be angry, if we support BMS and its supporting unions would punish us. In both cases general miners would be losers,” said Hareram Mahto, a miner of Dhansar Colliery.

Rashtriya Colliery Mazdoor Sangh (RCMS), a major constituent of INTUC, while supporting the agitation, has said since coal India management has adopted anti-labour policy, over 3.2 lakhs miners don’t have any option but to go on a nationwide strike.

However, BMS has opposed the move saying that strike has been called by political parties for political gain and it has nothing to do with the problems being faced by miners.

“Underground mines and Sunday overtime allowance of miners is being deducted. Labourers of outsourcing companies are denied the basic facilities. They are not paid same pay for same work. Despite notice CIL is not taking cognizance,” said AK Jha, general secretary, RCMS.

Strike supporters CITU, HMS, AICTU leaders allege that a meeting of the Medical Board for unfit miners has not been held for last 20 months and hundreds of youth are denied job under female VRS scheme. Several miners are harassed due to age controversy while management has ignored miner’s basic facilities such like dilapidated quarters, poor water supply and transporting facility.

“Since interest of miners is at stake, we have requested all trade unions to join in strike and make it a success,” Jha said.

BMS on Saturday held a meeting and decided to oppose the strike. “Trade unions affiliated with opposition parties have given the strike call in wake of next year’s general election to draw political gain. The proposed two-day strike has nothing to do with miners’ problems. So BMS would call miners to oppose it,” said Bindeswari Prasad, Jharkhand State BMS general secretary.

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