Coal India terms workers’ strike for bonus illegal


Kolkata: Describing as “illegal” the country-wide shutdown on Oct 10 called by all major workers’ unions of Coal India Limited (CIL) over their demands for bonus and ex-gratia, CIL chairman N.C. Jha Saturday asserted that it was not possible to give higher bonus this year as there was no growth in production.

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Five leading unions at the CIL, including Congress-backed Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), the Left backed-CITU and AITUC, the Hind Mazdoor Sabha and the BJP-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, have jointly served the strike notice.

The unions demanded Rs.25,000 as productivity-linked bonus or ex-gratia this year, but the management offered only Rs.17,000.

“Last year we had given bonus of Rs.15,000. This time they are demanding a 50 percent hike on this. We have not agreed. This is not possible as there is no growth this year,” Jha told reporters on the sidelines of a national seminar on “Energy Security for the Future-Challenges Ahead” here.

He said a one-day strike of workers would cost the ‘Maharatna’ firm Rs.120 crore.

“The strike is totally illegal,” he stated.

The workers’ unions are also pressing for early wage revision.

Asked when the wages will be finalised, Jha said, “Last time it took 13 months. Negotiations will be with unions… when they agree and we accept, then only it will be finalised.”

On coal price rise in the future, he said, “Price rise will be decided when the wages are finalised. That time we have to see how we can generate these revenues. Let the wages be finalised first.”