Report received from Shri Venu Madhav, AITUC
Before the JBCCI meeting in Kolkata on 22 May, all the central labour unions of Coal India, including AITUC, BMS, HMS, CITU, and all JBCCI members, held a joint meeting and passed a resolution in which they strongly opposed the decision of the Ministry of Coal and Mines to merge CMPDI and MECL and demanded its immediate withdrawal.
In the meeting, the Coal Ministry was warned that the separation of CMPDI from Coal India or any such merger would not be accepted which would weaken Coal India, and the ministry was warned of agitation.
AITUC has started a series of continuous demonstrations at the CMPDI headquarters, and under the leadership of AITUC leader Ashok Yadav, demonstrations and sloganeering have been organised every day at the CMPDI Ranchi headquarters. By giving a letter to him, he demanded the immediate cancellation of this merger proposal. From AITUC headquarters, AITUC General Secretary, Com. Amarjeet Kaur sent a letter to the Coal and Mines Minister demanding immediate cancellation of the merger proposal.
In view of the important and leadership role of AITUC President Ramendra Kumar in the meeting of trade unions in Kolkata, the Minister of Coal and Mines Shri Prahlad Joshi had a phone conversation with AITUC President Com. Ramendra Kumar on 25 April at around 1:30 pm and clarified that the Ministry of Coal will not separate CMPDI from Coal India. The proposal is to merge MECL with CMPDI, not CMPDI with MECL, so CMPDI will continue to be a part of Coal India. Shri Joshi also told Com. Ramendra Kumar that in view of the poor condition of MECL, a proposal has been prepared to merge it with CMPDI, which is better than closing MECL, so that it can also work as a part of Coal India.
Com. Ramendra Kumar asked how the service conditions of the workers and employees of MECL will be protected. The Coal Minister assured that he will hold talks on this issue. After this, Com. Ramendra Kumar thanked the Coal Minister for the proposal and clarification, but said that AITUC believes that the government should give this clarification by holding talks with the trade unions of Coal India. Decisions can be taken only after discussion.
The Coal Minister agreed with this and assured that he will convene a meeting after he is back from Gujarat. The current situation will be clarified in the meeting.
The Coal and Mines Minister’s telephonic conversation with the AITUC President is the result of the united action of coal workers, and it is a sign that with the strength of their united struggles, coal workers will continue to write a new chapter in the history of the labour movement.