Government Trying To Negotiate With Striking Coal India, SCCL Workers: Joshi
Day laborers fill baskets with coal at an open pit coal mine in the Bestacolla Colliery in Jharia, Jharkhand, India. (Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg)  

Government Trying To Negotiate With Striking Coal India, SCCL Workers: Joshi

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Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi has said efforts were on to hold talks with on-strike workers of Coal India Ltd. and Singareni Collieries Company Ltd., and that the government is hopeful that things will normalise by Wednesday.

CIL and SCCL workers are on a day-long token strike on Tuesday protesting the Centre's decision to allow 100 percent foreign direct investment in the two public sector enterprises through automatic route.

The strike call has been given by five central trade unions namely Indian National Trade Union Congress, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, All India Trade Union Congress, Centre of Indian Trade Unions and All India Central Council of Trade Unions.

"We are trying to have negotiations with them (workers). Government is quite open and the major impact is today," Joshi told reporters on the sidelines of an event by Indian Energy Forum.

The minister expressed hope that operations in Coal India mines would normalise on Wednesday. Last week, the trade unions had declined to attend a meeting with Joshi to discuss their demand of withdrawing 100 percent FDI in coal mining.

The five trade unions had served notice for the strike on Sept. 5. "The strike has support from the Telangana Boggu Gani Karmika Sangham union of SCCL too, affiliated to TRS party," Indian National Mineworkers' Federation Secretary General SQ Zama said.

The strike includes a complete stop in production, transportation and dispatch of coal from all mines -- Assam to Singareni -- All India Coal Workers' Federation General Secretary DD Ramanandan.

CIL produces around 2 million tonne of coal a day and accounts for over 80 percent of the country's coal production.

RSS-affiliated labour union Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, which is not a participant in the one-day strike, is, however, observing a five-day strike from Sept. 23-27 on the same issue.

On Tuesday, Coal India officials said there was no adverse impact on production on Monday despite the strike called by BMS. However, BMS leader BK Rai had said the response to the strike was "good".

Also read: 100% FDI In Coal Mining To Create Direct, Indirect Employment, Says Coal Minister 

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