All India Coal Workers Federation Are Fighting The Break-Up And Privatisation Of Coal India Ltd!

AGM of the Indian Federation of Transport workers, national secretary SHAIK SALAUDDIN (right) angry about the treatment of delivery riders

THE RECENTLY held two-day national meeting of the All India Coal Workers’ Federation in Jharkhand’s Ranchi decided on launching a month-long series of actions over the break-up and privatisation of Coal India Ltd (CIL), the largest coal producer in the world.

CIL is an essential energy source for India’s industrialisation plans for the coming decade.
Registering their opposition to the disinvestment of the company’s stakes in the coking coal mine operator of Coal India Limited (CIL), separation of the latter’s subsidiaries, and monetisation of its mining assets, the All India Coal Workers’ Federation (AICWF) has called for a month-long agitation, that is set to be launched from June 15.
The federation flayed the Narendra Modi-led central government for its recent policy decision, which, according to the unions, is directed towards ‘completely dismantling’ the CIL.
As of April 2020, CIL has over 350 mines spread through its subsidiaries in 84 mining areas across eight states. It accounts for over 80% of domestic coal output.
In a telephone interview on Monday, DD Ramanandan, general secretary, AICWF, said: ‘We believe the recent decisions will lead to the privatisation of coal companies. During the agitation, the coal workers will hold gate meetings, rallies, and dharnas at different places for a month.’
The agitation campaign has been called to spread awareness among the coal workers and prepare them for a ‘long struggle’, Ramanandan added.
Earlier this week, Union Coal Ministry floated a draft cabinet note for seeking inter-ministerial views on the proposal to list 25% shares of CIL’s subsidiary, Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), NDTV reported.
Taken as part of CIL restructuring, last month, a decision was taken by the company’s management to sell off 25% of its stakes in the Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), operating in the Jharia and Raniganj coalfields.
The Union Coal Ministry is also considering the merger of CIL’s exploration and mine planning arm, Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) and Nagpur-based Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL).
The number of these decisions taken by the Modi government is aimed at ‘completely dismantling’ the CIL, Tapan Sen, general secretary, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), said on Monday.
‘All these are happening to benefit the private players eventually,’ he claimed.
Sen, who attended the AICWF’s recently held meeting in Ranchi, underscored that the federation is also protesting against the controversial National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), under which the Centre has reportedly identified 160 coal mining assets worth an estimated Rs 28,747 crore (=ten million) for monetisation over four years till 2025.
Asked about it, Ramanandan on Monday shared the federation’s fears that ‘many of the good running mines’ will also see private-sector participation, which will affect the profits recorded by CIL.
Announced in August last year, the NMP, which involves transferring revenue rights to private players for a specified period, has been flayed by not just coal miners but railwaymen and public sector telecom employees in the country as well.
The central government seeks to generate upfront investments or revenues worth Rs 600,000 crore (=ten million) in four years, beginning from this year, by monetisation of assets in road, railways, power, mining, aviation, ports, warehouses, and stadiums, among other sectors.
‘We are confident that the month-long agitation of coal workers will also find support from other sectoral federations in the country. The AICWF will meet once again later next month to decide further course of action, which may also include a strike action if issues raised by the unions remain unaddressed,’ Sen claimed.
Meanwhile, the AICWF is also pressing for wage improvements for the CIL workers, which has been due since July last year.
The federation is demanding a meeting of the Joint Bipartite Committee for the Coal Industry, which negotiates and decides the wages of workers in the coal industry.
Last year, in a joint charter of demands submitted by the trade unions to the Committee, the workers demanded a 50% hike in the minimum guaranteed benefits to coal workers of all grades, among others.

  • The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) employees went on strike once again from Monday 6th June in protest over the uncertainty over getting paid.

KSRTC runs the bus network for the state and is one of the country’s oldest state-run transport services.
The employees’ unions have walked out of a meeting called by KSRTC chairman and managing director Biju Prabhakar after the management reportedly failed to give them any assurance about being paid.
The talks between the KSRTC boss and the employees’ unions hit a dead end when the former told them that the salaries could be disbursed only by around June 20, citing the financial liabilities of the corporation.
While the unions said despite having registered a record revenue of rupee 193 crore (=ten million) last month, the attitude of the corporation that the employees will have to wait further to receive their salary could not be agreed on.
But the management was of the view that the salary would be disbursed once the State government provides the financial assistance to the corporation.
Till then, the employees will have to wait. Following this, the union representatives walked out of the meeting, announcing their strike plans.
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions-affiliated Kerala State Road Transport Employees Association announced that they would hold a sit-in in front of the KSRTC Chief Office in Thiruvananthapuram from 10am to 5pm from Monday without disrupting the KSRTC bus services.
Indian National Trade Union Congress-led Transport Democratic Federation (TDF) general secretary V. Sivakumar said the TDF would also hold an indefinite fast in front of the chief office from June 6, seeking payment of salaries.
The employees’ outfit, affiliated to the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) will also join hands with the striking unions, while the BMS-affiliated KST Employees Sangh announced that it would hold protest programmes from Monday.
The employees of the corporation have been seeking salary credit before the 5th of every month.

  • Zomato, Swiggy, Blinkit, and Zepto, among others, must be held accountable for introducing ‘unsustainable’ delivery models that put the lives of delivery workers on the road at risk, union leaders demanded yesterday, calling for a robust regulatory framework, as concerns grow over the hazards of focusing too much on speed.

The ‘ten-minute delivery’ model became the talk of the town over the last few months, with major players operating within the food and grocery delivery ecosystem pledging instant arrival of orders at the doorstep. The trend was promoted by online platforms, even as their riders complained of being forced to drive faster with orders or getting penalised for late deliveries.
The ten-minute delivery model only shows how little the online platforms think about the occupational safety of the riders, said Shaik Salauddin, national general secretary of the Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers (IFAT).
‘As per our estimates, in the last two-three months, 10 to 15 riders lost their lives across the country as they were forced by these online companies to make deliveries within unrealistic deadlines,’ Saluddin claimed.
Saluddin said that even as the move to envisage a social security fund for gig workers was welcomed, the app-based workers’ federation also demanded minimum wages and collective bargaining rights for the app-based workforce in the country.
He said as far as gig workers are concerned, they remain untouched by the four Labour Codes.
‘In the coming days, we are planning to launch a campaign to raise these demands across the country,’ he said.
Meanwhile, the AIGWU has also been pushing forward the demand to confer employment rights to the workforce of the gig economy.