Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent
The 10th Wage Agreement for workers of the Coal India Limited (CIL) and Singareni Coal Collieries Limited (SCCL) expired on 30th June 2021. So far five meetings have been held between the unions and management, including the one on 1 July 2022, but no agreement could be reached.
Workers are agitated that when the inflation in the country is running so high, the management seems to be in no hurry to finalise the wage agreement. They are also upset that while workers have demanded 47% increase in wages, CIL management has offered measly 3% raise. This is an insult to workers considering the efforts put in by workers to increase the coal production without caring for the pandemic.
India’s coal production increased by 8.54 per cent. to 777.26 million tonnes (MT) in 2021-22 from 716.08 MT in 2020-21.
Wages are revised every five years. The last wage agreement for 01.07.2016 to 30.06.2021 gave 20 percent raise in salaries. Non-executive workers account for 94% of CIL’s total workforce of 2.59 lakh.
A group of unions has written to the coal minister and urged him to intervene for speedy conclusion of negotiations failing which they will be forced to go on strike.
Coal workers showed their unity in 2020 when they carried out a three-day strike to protest against the government’s move to allow commercial mining 2020. The strike was a big success. In most of the mines (in the three days), production was nil and the dispatch was totally blocked.